Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Much of what we know about American history came from reading the books of this man. According to The New York Times:
The cause was a heart attack, said Mr. Schlesinger’s son Stephen. He died at New York Downtown Hospital after being stricken in a restaurant.

Twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Mr. Schlesinger exhaustively examined the administrations of two prominent presidents, Andrew Jackson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, against a vast background of regional and economic rivalries. He strongly argued that strong individuals like Jackson and Roosevelt could bend history.

The notes he took for President John F. Kennedy to use in writing his own history, became, after the president’s assassination, grist for Mr. Schlesinger’s own “A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House,” winner of both the Pulitzer and a National Book Award in 1966.
He wrote “The Disuniting of America” in 1991 and drew flames for comparing Afrocentrism to the Ku Klux Klan. He also criticized the then-new “multicultural society.”

Schlesinger took the attacks with the air of someone who really understands the Long View. “What the hell,” he said. “You have to call them as you see them. This too shall pass.”


Emily Brooker's 15 minutes of infamy are surely up by now, but the former Missouri State University student refuses to give up the spotlight.

Brooker testified this week at a hearing in Jefferson City for something called the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act, a piece of legislation that bastardizes the meaning of "intellectual" and makes a mockery of "diversity."

Brooker, as you probably remember, sued MSU after claiming her "Christian beliefs" were being trampled (she refused to write a letter to state lawmakers, voicing support for gay marriage). The university quickly settled the claim and cleared Brooker's academic record. The head of the social work graduate program stepped down from that post but continues to teach at MSU.

Republican lawmakers pushing the Brooker Act swallowed a load during the hearing. A News-Leader account of the meeting included this claim from witness Mindy Ellis, an Ozarks social worker:
"(Another professor) made several statements leading several students to believe that a good social worker must engage in a homosexual act at some point."
Where are the "several students," when was the statement made, where's the proof that this is anything more than an outrageous lie?

But that's the way the radical right operates in Missouri and across the nation. Throw out a spectacular claim, rely on the media to report it without skepticism, and then point to the ensuing media frenzy as proof that there's more to the story than smoke. This, by the way, is the only time they like the media -- when it does their bidding. The rest of the time it's the liberal media and you can't trust anything they say.

(The radical right likes to shout a lot about discrimination against Christians, a major point of Brooker's beef. Last we checked, Christians accounted for 85 percent of the U.S. population. That's more than 224 million people, and they much rule the national roost.)

The radical right's other specialty is wordnapping -- stealing perfectly decent words and twisting them into something contrary to truth. Take "intellectual diversity." Under the Brooker Act, it's defined as "the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, religious, and other perspectives."

C'mon. Do you really believe they mean it? A "variety" would include perspectives from across a broad spectrum. Brooker and her supporters in the Missouri General Assembly want to squelch perspectives that differ from their point of view. They're pushing for less diversity, not more. That's anything but intellectual.


Sen. John McCain announced Wednesday that he's running for president. He dropped the news on "Late Show with David Letterman."

Having nothing but disdain for McCain, the conservative base hooted at the news. Many Republicans see McCain as soft on immigration and a danger to free speech with his push for campaign-finance reform (they also don't appreciate him working on legislation with Democrats, the sworn enemy). These Republicans are so antagonistic that many of them support Rudy Giuliani over McCain -- despite Giuliani's support of gay rights, gun control and abortion rights.

But Rudy's not first in their hearts; that spot belongs to Duncan Hunter, a congressman from California who says he's "committed to sealing the U.S. border to illegal alien and drug trafficking, ensuring that the region remains safe for communities on both sides of the international boundary." Hunter's one-horse pony won't carry him through the primary season, but his sway over a chunk of the GOP base makes him a player.


The speedy Brother Richard captures the point for this obituary, and although you may say "Walker Who?" the voice was familiar. CNN reports:
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Edmiston had a children's show on local television (in Los Angeles), "The Walker Edmiston Show," which featured his own puppets, including Kingsley the Lion and Ravenswood the Buzzard.

In the 1960s and 1970s, he voiced many characters on shows created by Sid and Marty Krofft, including Dr. Blinkey and Orson the Vulture on "H.R. Pufnstuf" and Sparky the Firefly on "Bugaloos."
Born in St. Louis, Edmiston also voiced Ernie the Keebler elf in TV commercials.


We bow and give thanks to Tristan for 'lerting us to the fine print in this story from The Harvard Crimson.

The lede is straight:
A woman was seriously injured last night after suffering a seizure and falling while riding the escalator out of the Harvard Square T station.

The 52-year-old woman lost consciousness, and, unable to get up, was caught in the escalator’s machinery, according to MBTA police Lt. Salvatore L. Venturelli.
But then things get all goofy:
One eyewitness to the event, who wished to be identified as “Pumpkin the Rat,” said she was standing in view of the escalator when the woman fell.

She said that at approximately 6:40 p.m. she saw the woman fall backward down the escalator, hitting her head several times along the way. Immediately after the fall, a few bystanders came to the women’s aid and called 911, Pumpkin said.

Pumpkin said
attempts to revive the woman continued for at least 15 minutes, but that her hands were blue when she was put loaded an ambulance.
Straight outta "Jeepers Creepers Theater" on Channel 13 in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


For some reason we didn't see The Departed when it was on the big screen. Smitty did, thank God, so we had a point of reference while watching the DVD with him.

A great film? Sure sure, but it's Scorsese and this wasn't "New York New York." But neither was it "GoodFellas" (a Top 5 pick around here, right next to "Brazil" and "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover").

Best picture? Best one featuring more than a dozen people killed by gunshot wounds to the head (we counted at least eight individual cranial shots, and there are two gun battles in which several characters meet their demise courtesy of bullets to the brain).

We can see why Matt Damon didn't win an Academy Award nomination -- he's no Leonardo DiCaprio or Jack Nicholson. We understand why Nicholson didn't get a nod -- he's Jack playing a mob boss. We don't know why DiCaprio wasn't nominated for his role.

Smitty alerted us to a couple of oddities:

•The scene where Nicholson romps with a couple of hookers has been edited further from the theatrical release; on the big screen, there's apparently more to the gathering than a handful of thrown cocaine.

•Ditto for a scene between DiCaprio and a dying member of the Costello gang -- the DVD version cuts some lines.

Scorses reportedly worked on "The Departed" until a week before it was released in theaters. Sounds like someone was still wielding a blade after the fact. We'd try to coax out more info from the DVD, but it's a bare-bones affair right now -- only the feature and the trailer. No deleted scenes, no bonus features. Guess that stuff will have to wait for the special Oscar-winning DVD release.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Too young for the grinder of Vietnam, but not too young to self-deceive, we once believed war was not inevitable -- believed, in fact, that we might live out our remaining days and never again know of soil soaked with the lifeblood of young American warriors.

Too young, too naive, too willing to believe in inherent goodness and the notion that everything will be all right, we be-bopped through life's dance, stupid and gullible. Now we seriously wonder if bodies must be drafted into armed service to feed the machinery of war.

Seymour Hersh, the journalist, has a new story in The New Yorker. It tells of a struggle between U.S. politicians and generals over the issue of Iran, and a distressing shift in how we're dealing with that nation. A shift in strategy is now afoot, Hersh alleges:
The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.
The lonely bell that Kris Kristofferson wrote about now echoes through the canyon.


Matt Bartle, a state senator from Lee's Summit, makes us ashamed to live in the same state. Bartle is a Republican, so you could reasonably assume he's in favor of the free market and small business and against government coming in and Bigfooting all over the place.

You could assume that, but only by overlooking Bartle's obsession with sex. He's sponsoring Senate Bill 300, a shut-the-sex-shops piece of legislation that would, among other things, limit the hours that sexually explicit stores can operate.

As The Maneater reports:
“It does not help the image of the state of Missouri when you see billboards lining the roads or tin sheds with “Triple X” painted on them,” Bartle’s Chief of Staff Todd Scott said. “We would like to invite tourists here. We have made a lot of efforts to promote Missouri as a family-friendly state. These signs and businesses just give a rather seedy look to the state.”

“Twelve hours a day is enough for a business,” Scott said. “It’s not an infringement on their rights if you give them five or six days with over 40 hours a week to be open.”
SB 300 would forbid strip clubs from serving alcohol. No one under 21 could work at any sexually oriented business.

Bartle is also pushing to banish billboards for sexually oriented businesses. In Bartle's perfect world, "family friendly" means no sex. Someone get this guy a biology book, stat.


The APFL -- that's the American Professional Football League -- plans a news conference on Tuesday to discuss plans to bring an expansion team to Springfield.

The indoor league, now in its fifth season, has teams in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Texas, according to a league news release.

The 1:30 p.m. news conference will introduce the Wolfpack. Indoor football fans, rejoice.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Tragically, this year's Oscar for best picture could go to "Little Miss Sunshine," a slip of a film that's supposed to make people feel good about 1) independent movies, 2) dysfunctional families, and 3) irony (a film that mocks America's obsession with winning can't win an Oscar, and thus probably will).

Nothing against "Little Miss Sunshine" -- we chuckled every now and then, especially over Alan Arkin's sweet tooth for heroin -- but nothing for it, either. It's this season's "Forrest Gump," the lightweight flick that bested "Pulp Fiction" for Best Picture in 1994. It's "Rocky" beating "Network" and "Taxi Driver" in 1976. "Kramer vs. Kramer" winning over "Apocalypse Now" in 1979. And let's not even get into "GoodFellas" losing to "Dances With Wolves" in 1990.

"Sunshine" could win Best Picture for the same reason "My Fair Lady" beat "Dr. Strangelove" in 1964. It's easier to like the comfortable, the inoffensive. Soothe, don't rankle. Sure, there's a chance that "The Departed" will win Best Picture, but only because it's no longer any fun to screw over Martin Scorsese (and because "The Departed" has made more money than any other Scorsese film).

We'd like to think the Academy Awards will be handed to the best actors, the best filmmakers. In that spirit, here's what we hope happens (and what peobably will happen):
•Best Picture should go to "Letters From Iwo Jima," but there's nothing feel-good about Japanese soldiers blowing themselves up with grenades. We suspect "The Departed" will win to complete the suck-up to Scorsese.

•Anybody but Will Smith for Best Actor. We're pulling for Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson." Most pundits think Forest Whitaker will win for "The Last King of Scotland," but Peter O'Toole has a chance, and not just because he owns the best phallic name in film history.

•Best Actress is Helen Mirren, or so everyone says, and we'll take their word for it.

•Mark Wahlberg should be named Best Supporting Actor, for his turn in "The Departed." He will probably lose to Arkin, or perhaps Eddie Murphy (whose "Dreamgirls" turn pales when compared to Mr. Robinson, or his channeling of Gumby).

•Best Supporting Actress? Jennifer Hudson in "Dreamgirls," because it will further enrage Beyonce.

•Best Director should go to Clint Eastwood for "Letters From Iwo Jima," but hey, he's already gotten his share of Oscars.
We thank the Academy gods that Hilary Swank is not nominated for anything. We damn the Academy gods for having Celine Dion sing.

Friday, February 23, 2007


More than 300 feet deep, the hole opened up early Friday. More than a dozen homes were swallowed. According to a report from The Associated Press:
The pit was emitting foul odors, loud noises and tremors, and a rush of water could be heard from its depths. Authorities feared it could widen or others could open up.
The almost-unbelievable photos can be found here.


As pledged, here are the results from our recent CHATTER poll on what to do with Shelia Wright, the councilwoman with those zany, out-of-control dogs:
•She should resign (43.8%).

•She should ditch the dogs (34.4%).

•She should enclose herself in an electric fence and wear a collar so she can't get out (25%).

•She should enter Zeke in the News-Leader's Pet Idol contest (21.9%).

•She should lather up with a couple of fresh, bloody pounds of ground chuck, and jump over a good old fashioned concertina-wire fence into a junkyard guarded by a Rottweiler that hasn't been fed for three days (12.5%).

•She should ignore the proles and continue to pretend her dogs aren't a problem (6.2%).

•She should throw a tea party summit for any neighbors and/or neighboring animals who allege to have been bitten or even scared by her sweet, innocent little pooch, so that everyone can discuss these issues in a non-threatening venue, after which all participants could hug each other and sing "Kumbaya" in perfect harmony (3.1%).
Other reader suggestions included:
Leave anonymous notes saying "bitch," "slut," and "whore," in places where only her dog-owning neighbors will find them, get herself caught on videotape, receive an ex parte order from said neighbors, then tell reporters "Next time, I'll sign my name!"

Adopt the wolf couple that escaped from Predator World on Friday. Add wolf pack to growing menagerie of gentle, loving pets.

Let's see ... wear a pointy hat and black sheet ... stand on a box with her arms outstretched ... wires coming out from under the sheet .. and hook up to CU's power grid.

Get together with Ralph "I'm so happy I could jump up and down and give away silver dollars" Manley and start a half way house for idiot city council members. These two make Slavens and Shikany look like Mensa candidates.
Tough crowd. Good job.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


In the West African savannah, chimps are sharpening sticks, making spears and stabbing prey. Next stop: Advanced weaponry? Friday's Washington Post has the story:
The multistep spearmaking practice, documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees' trust, adds credence to the idea that human forebears fashioned similar tools millions of years ago.

The landmark observation also supports the long-debated proposition that females -- the main makers and users of spears among the Senegalese chimps -- tend to be the innovators and creative problem solvers in primate culture.

Using their hands and teeth, the chimpanzees were repeatedly seen tearing the side branches off long, straight sticks, peeling back the bark and sharpening one end. Then, grasping the weapons in a "power grip," they jabbed them into tree-branch hollows where bush babies -- small, monkeylike mammals -- sleep during the day.
Female chimps account for two-thirds of the observed weapons production.


James Van Iveren heard noises coming from a neighbor's apartment in Wisconsin. He thought he heard a woman being raped.

Armed with a sword, he broke into the apartment. Too late, he discovered the noises were apparently coming from a porn movie.

Now Van Iveren is charged with kicking in his neighbor's door. The Journal Sentinel has what may be this week's most delightful read in an American paper. A couple excerpts:
Van Iveren's neighbor, Bret Stieghorst, said Wednesday that he believed Van Iveren was doing what he thought was the right thing in kicking in the door to his apartment and didn't care about the charges that were filed, except damage to property.

"He did kick in my door, so he should get charged with that," said Stieghorst, 33, who works full time and is a student at Waukesha County Technical College. "But he really didn't do anything except what he thought was right. I don't know what I would have done in that situation."

But if Van Iveren was attempting to rescue what he thought was a woman in danger he was "obnoxiously late," said Stieghorst, who said he watched the movie between 1 and 2:30 a.m., but Van Iveren did not burst into his apartment until about 11:30 a.m. ...

Stieghorst, who said he has lived in his small downtown apartment for five years, said he was watching an adult DVD in Spanish called "Casa de Culo." He said the movie has no screaming that would suggest to someone a woman was in danger.

"It's all in Spanish, and I don't understand a word of it," he said. "I only bought it for the hot chicks."

Waukesha County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Osborne said it would be a mistake to let Van Iveren off the hook merely because he says he was mistaken.

"You can't just make up an excuse for your behavior and expect to avoid consequences," he said.

Stieghorst said the incident will not change his movie-viewing habits.

"No, way; I'm a man and I'm a normal person," he said. "But I think I will get some good headphones, maybe some wireless ones."
For those of you who care, "Casa de Culo" is a four-hour video. That's a lot of culo.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Four proposed developments for a vacant lot in Jordan Valley Park will face public scrutiny on Monday.

The 1.7-acre lot was to be an arena in JVP, but those plans fell through. Now the City of Springfield wants to sell the land.

Four requests for proposals to develop the lot were announced on Wednesday. There's at least one intriguing plan, and one proposal that should make Springfieldians cringe.

•The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Springfield R-12 Public Schools want to build a "joint administrative center with shared conference rooms, including a large auditorium and central reception area." Hmmm. The plan sounds interesting.

•BKD, LLP would build a "new headquarters and Springfield practice operations building with additional commercial//retail space in Phase I and an additional future building for mixed-use development in Phase II." OK.

•Of course it wouldn't be a party if John Q. Hammons didn't have a scheme. The developer wants to construct a "five-story 'Class A' office building with first-floor retail space." Ho-hum.

•The most urp-worthy proposal comes from HCW Evergreen, LLC. It wants to build a "Hilton or Embassy Suites hotel with meeting space, residential condominiums, restaurant, swimming pool and office space."

You might remember HCW as the force behind Grandvista, the timeshare resorts, and Branson Landing. HCW Evergreen also wanted to build a 25-story skyscraper in Branson, but aldermen last year cut the project down to size, limiting the building to 12 stories.

Want to hear more about the proposals? Presentations are slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at the Busch Building Fourth-Floor conference room. It's a public meeting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


We doubt there's anything nefarious here, but the story sounds cool. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Border protection officials are monitoring a foreign boat sailing close to Christmas Island, the government says.

The RAAF detected the boat heading towards the island on Monday, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews' office said on Tuesday night.

"As of 6pm, the vessel is on the high seas," the spokeswoman said.

"Border protection is continuing to monitor the vessel."

The spokeswoman said no details were available about the type of vessel or the people on board.

The government is building a detention centre on Christmas Island, which will be able to hold up to 800 detainees when it becomes fully operational later this year.
A detention camp on Christmas Island. Probably nixes the idea of stockings on great big coconut trees.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Sixty-five years ago Monday, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. It led to the incarceration of more than 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry. Most were citizens or legal residents of the United States. Half of the imprisoned were children.

Roosevelt ordered:
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);

Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.

I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.

I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.

This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.
FDR, perhaps the greatest president in American history, is also one of the worst because of what he did to his fellow Americans. History calls them "internment camps." We prefer Roosevelt's own description of the 10 facilities: concentration camps.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Al Qaeda is back in business, according to intelligence and counterterrorism officials in the U.S. Leaders of the organization are "operating from Pakistan" and "have re-established significant control over their once battered worldwide terror network."

Who's running Al Qaeda? According to the New York Times:
American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan. Until recently, the Bush administration had described Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al Qaeda.

American analysts said recent intelligence showed that the compounds functioned under a loose command structure and were operated by groups of Arab, Pakistani and Afghan militants allied with Al Qaeda. They receive guidance from their commanders and Mr. Zawahri, the analysts said. Mr. bin Laden, who has long played less of an operational role, appears to have little direct involvement.
You can't keep bad men down. Especially when you expend more energy and effort looking in Iraq for something else.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


The former NBA player decided to let his freak flag fly this week when he said, during a radio interview:
"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."
Some bloggers are using Hardaway to pass through the eye of the needle -- they say they abhor Hardaway's words, but they continue to cling to their dislike of what they call the "gay-rights agenda."

(You know, the old "hate the sin, love the sinner" argument. Is it ever used to defend any other kind of bigotry? Does anyone ever say, "You know, Bob hates blacks and thinks they shouldn't exist, but even though I disagree with his hatred, I still love the old cuss"?)

Yeah yeah, here comes the response: There's a difference between being black and being gay. We're sure there are cases where people practice homosexuality without being gay; there are a few black people who try to pass as white, and a larger number of white kids who want to be perceived as black. Doesn't mean they are. Doesn't make it so.

Most gay people were born gay. To claim homosexuality is strictly a learned behavior is to ignore all evidence that homosexuality exists among animals. And if it's not all nurture, then nature plays a part. Rail against nature all you want. Refuse to "accept" it. It's a losing battle.

Many people who say they love gays but hate their behavior are focused only on sex (as if gays are simply rutting machines, capable of nothing else). They say if they don't speak out against the "gay-rights agenda," future generations are doomed to live under the rainbow flag and will be forced to wear uncomfortable leather and accept things like bestiality. Such hyperbole would be gut-busting funny, if it wasn't believed by so many otherwise intelligent people.

Check out this Free Republic thread. These are people who claim to be conservative Christians. This is the ugly mindset behind the anti-gay movement in America. Their hypocrisy is startling; their hatred is breathtaking. Do all Christian conservatives feel this way? No. But too many do.


With his collaborator Jay Livingston, he wrote songs for a living. You know some of them: "Mona Lisa," "Silver Bells," "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)."

According to The Associated Press, Evans died late Thursday of heart failure. His death was unexpected; his lawyer said Evans was "full of energy and excitement" during a phone call, just hours before his death.

Smitty gets the point.


The eclectic wonder of the world known as Sniderman points us to Sabs (pronounced with a long A) and his alert to the death of Robert Adler, inventor of that crazy little thing called the television remote control. The Associated Press reports:
Adler won an Emmy Award along with fellow engineer Eugene Polley for the device that made couch potatoship possible. He died Thursday of heart failure at a Boise nursing home.

In his six-decade career with Zenith, Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U.S. patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make TV a truly sedentary pastime.

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Adler and co-inventor Polley, another Zenith engineer, an Emmy in 1997 for the landmark invention.
Adler's last patent application -- involving touch screen technology -- was dated Feb. 1, 2007.

Sabs technically gets the point, but we wouldn't have known without Sniderman. Point, then, to Dave in the Great Game of Mortality.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Rep. Don Young, a Republican congressman from Alaska, evoked Abraham Lincoln to justify the arrest, exile or hanging of elected officials who oppose President Bush's call for a troop escalation in Iraq:
"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."
The Lincoln quote wasn't from Lincoln. Young's mouthpiece said "so sorry" on Friday but added that the congressman still agrees with the sentiment.

A real Lincoln quote about presidents waging war without congressional oversight comes from 1846. Lincoln was in Congress, arguing against President James Polk's war with Mexico:
"The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons: Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."
Lincoln: Freed the slaves, kept the Union together, predicted the future.


Our recent post on Springfield City Councilwoman Shelia Wright elicited several delightfully droll remarks -- so why not include them in a poll about her? And not one of those boring "yes/no" polls; creativity counts.

To give us your opinion on Shelia Wright, click here and take our survey. We've included many of your suggestions, including those involving ground chuck and a tea-party summit.

No registration required, no gathering of super-secret IP data, no salesman (or woman) will call. We'll compile the numbers and report back on Friday, Feb. 23. Ready to dream up the future for Shelia Wright? Click here and vote.


Georgie Audean Buoy of Oregon was 82 when she had sex with an 11-year-old boy. It happened in the summer of 2004.

Now 84, Buoy is going to prison for three years. She pleaded guilty on Thursday to attempted sex abuse.

Buoy used to take in foster kids for short stays as part of her work for a non-profit group, Next Door Inc. That's how she met the kid. From the Oregonian story:
In the summer of 2004, she took in the 11-year-old boy for three months. She told detectives that she heard the boy had been abandoned as a baby. When she baked him a birthday cake, the boy said no one had ever made him a cake for his birthday. Buoy described the boy as very mature, saying he seemed more like 15 or 16.

At the time, Buoy was living alone with her husband of nearly 45 years. Elmer "Ed" Buoy, a World War II veteran, had health problems that required him to be on supplemental oxygen for the previous decade.

Buoy said her husband slept in a different bedroom and she acknowledged that she was lonely.

After her husband turned in, she and the boy would stay up late watching TV in her sewing room.

Buoy said hugs led to kisses and eventually to sexual contact when he would crawl into her bed.

During an interview with detectives from the Wasco County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon State Police, Buoy confessed to one encounter of sexual intercourse.
The boy told a counselor. He'll probably need one for quite some time.


It's a good news, good news story: Audioslave goes up in flames, and Rage Against The Machine reunites for at least one show.

Chris Cornell quit Audioslave over "irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences." That's according to a statement issued Thursday by the singer. Reuters reports:
Cornell, 42, who rose to fame with defunct Seattle rock group Soundgarden, will reignite his solo career with the May 1 release of "Carry On," his second solo album.

"Due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences, I am permanently leaving the band Audioslave. I wish the other three members nothing but the best in all of their future endeavors," the part-time Paris restaurateur said in a statement.

The Audioslave split was not unexpected. His colleagues, guitarist
Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk, have reunited with singer Zack de la Rocha to resurrect their former band Rage Against the Machine, which will play its first show in seven years at California's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 29. Rage's plans beyond this show are unknown.

Audioslave formed in 2001, a year after Rage broke up, and recorded three studio albums. In May 2005, it became the first American band to play an outdoor show in Cuba.
Soundgarden? Great. Rage? Tremendous. We like mustard and ice cream, too, but we'd never smash them together.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


And if you see it coming your way, run.

Clicking on this link will take you to a story in the East Valley Tribune, a metro Phoenix newspaper. The tale involves Tiffany Sutton, 23, and her alleged bedroom preferences; a man says he agreed to a little bondage, but Sutton wanted more. Much more.

From the story:
The man told police he had consented to being tied up but became scared when the woman attacked him with a knife. He eventually freed himself and ran away, but Sutton chased him with a pickax, police said.

The man was taken in an ambulance to a local hospital, where he was treated for injuries.

Police were unsure if the pair were friends, but Sgt. Mike Horn said the man and woman were not in a relationship.

Both admitted to authorities that they had consumed alcohol and drugs prior to the attack, Horn said.
Sutton reportedly told the man that she liked to drink blood. He should have known this before he agreed to be tied up.


Back in the black-and-white days, Duane Benton was director of revenue in Missouri. While reporting a story we called the revenue office's main number in Jefferson City. It was the noon hour.

Duane Benton answered the phone. People were out to lunch, he explained, so he was catching the phones. That's what public servants do.

In today's supposedly improved world of service, Benton's gesture can be viewed as charmingly antiquated. Still, we prefer to think that a person calling a state agency should get to speak with a human being, instead of navigating through an automated voice-mail forest.

Missouri Rep. Sam Page of Creve Coeur wants to make that so. Page had filed House Bill 882; it would require state agencies to provide you the option of "speaking to a living, breathing person," Page says.

"State government must be accessible to the people it serves," Page adds. "Getting someone on the phone at a state agency should be easier than solving a Rubik's cube."


Shelia Wright, the Springfield City Council member, lives on historic Walnut Street,just east of National Avenue. Nice digs. Nice fence, too -- but a low one, made of wrought iron and easily compromised by a big enough dog.

Wright owns big dogs, including a malamute named Zeke. That dog apparently escaped from Wright's yard on Wednesday and menaced a neighbor and his small dog. It's not the first time Wright and her dogs have been in the news.

But this report in the News-Leader makes it clear that Wright's problem isn't her dogs, or the iron fence, or even neighbors who dislike her. Her problem is her mouth -- specifically, her inability to keep it closed. When asked by the newspaper reporter about Zeke's escape, Wright did not immediately take the blame or say she was sorry. Instead she replied:
"We think someone came by in the night and let our dog out. Our gate was open this morning when we got up ... I don't know how it happened. Maybe someone took the collar off and put it back on him."
We do not doubt that Shelia Wright cares for her city; service on City Council is without pay and with plenty of headaches. Wright can do one more thing to show her love for Springfield. She can resign from City Council. And she might want to think about a taller fence. Or smaller dogs.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


On Tuesday, Oprah aired "Ask Dr. Oz," that being Dr. Mehmet Oz, vice-chair of surgery (and a professor of cardiac surgery) at Columbia University. Naturally, the show featured questions about Brazilian wax jobs, Botox and cellulite.

The real heart-stopper of a question, however, had to do with douches. Are they necessary?

Oz replied: “The vagina is a self-cleaning oven."


An appropriate question to ask in the wake of Anna Nicole Smith's death, especially now that TMZ is reporting that Smith's fridge was devoid of food and instead filled with French's Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, yogurt, spray butter, methadone and Slim-Fast.

Mmm. Spray butter and methadone.

Smith, as you know, was spokeswoman for TrimSpa, another weight-loss product. Her apparent preference for Slim-Fast doesn't sit well with TrimSpa CEO Alex Goen, who said on Court TV that if Smith drank Slim-Fast, "it would definitely be a violation ... it would definitely be one of those things we would question. We would not want her taking any other weight loss products." Heroin dealers are probably upset by Smith's preference for methadone over their powders, but they at least have the class to stay quiet about it.


Critics hither and yon find lots lacking in the Grammy Awards telecast. Few arguments there (though Gnarls Barkley's performance of "Crazy" was as bad-ass as they come, and Mary J. Blige was crazy, as usual).

But Target's latest ad also aired during the show. Singer Sophia Shorai covered "Hello, Goodbye" by The Beatles -- only now it's "good buy." John Lennon always disliked the song, and perhaps Paul McCartney always intended it to become a consumer jingle. But somehow we doubt it.

Monday, February 12, 2007


Mark your calendar, save your pennies, farm out the kids. The Police will play Monday, July 2 in St. Louis.

Tickets will probably range from $60 to $225 for the show, according to a band news release. No Kansas City date has been set. You will not be shocked to learn that Springfield is not on the calendar, either.


Angela Nellany of Oakdale, Calif., reportedly wanted it that way -- for her ex-husband. The 50-year-old woman was arrested Sunday and accused of trying to hire a friend to kill her ex by putting wasps in his car. The friend told Paul Nellany about the plot. WLTX reports:
Investigators said Nellany had heard rumors that his ex-wife was trying to kill him but never took them seriously until confronted by the friend.

In December, the woman contacted other friends and asked them to put wasps in Nellany's car so that he would get stung, according to authorities. Nellany is allergic to wasps. He told detectives when he started his vehicle and turned on the heater the wasps came out of the heater vents. Investigators said he managed to get out without being stung.

Stanislaus County sheriff's deputies suspect one motive for Angela Nellany's actions was to collect on her ex-husband's life insurance policy which is worth $250,000.
Good to see that Blackie Lawless and the boys are still working.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


The father of Anna Nicole Smith's baby is:

•Her lawyer, Howard K. Stern;

•Her former boyfriend, Larry Birkhead;

•Zsa Zsa Gabor's flamboyant husband, Prince Frederic von Anhalt.

Or -- horror of horrors -- the child is the product of a dead man's semen.

According to the New York Daily News, the father of Smith's baby may be none other than J. Howard Marshall, the uber-rich dead guy she once married. The claim comes from a book manuscript written by Smith's estranged sister, Donna Hogan:
Depicting her half-sister as ever calculating, Hogan wrote that Smith was "seeing into the future. ... She takes Howard in to have his sperm tested. When the results show that he is still fertile, she has a quantity of his sperm frozen."

Hogan wrote that when her half-sister announced to the world she was pregnant, she declined to name the father.

"To her family, she hinted that she had used the old man's frozen sperm, and would be giving birth to Howard Marshall's child," the manuscript claims.
CHATTER can confirm that its chief typist is not the father.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Jasmine Huda, the KSPR reporter, is kicking the dust off her stylish shoes and kicking Springfield to the curb. She told City Hall types that she's leaving "for the greener pastures of St. Louis, where she has accepted 'a reporting job,' not sure which station," says a source.

Who's the new dean of the City Hall press corps?


Missouri's first woman lieutenant governor died Thursday night of leukemia. She was 79. From The Associated Press:
She had been diagnosed with leukemia last March while teaching political and community involvement in New York, her son said.

"She will be remembered most as a loving mother and grandmother, but we are also incredibly proud of her life devoted to public service and her passionate and determined efforts to aid society's most vulnerable - the elderly, minorities and the homeless, to obtain equal opportunities for women, and mentor future generations of leaders," the family said in a statement.

Woods became Missouri's lieutenant governor in 1984 and served one term as the state's No. 2 executive. Before that, she served eight years in the state Senate, two years on a state transportation commission and eight years on the University City Council.
Smitty gets the point.


Sorry for the CHATTER blackout. We've been in Kentucky, sussing out some potentials for the future.

Anyway, the death of Anna Nicole Smith on Thursday sparked quite the race for the point. Ladies and gents, the photo finish:

•The winner is Strannix, who flagged us at 2:53 p.m.

•Behind by a scant minute was John Stone, in with the obit at 2:54 p.m.

•Then came MIT, e-mailing at 3:10 p.m. Though, to his credit, MIT also rang us while we were in Louisville, creating a stir in our meeting. Whee!

•ErikJoplin chimed in at 3:19 p.m.

•Brother Richard e-mailed at 4:18 p.m.

Congrats, Strannix. One big point. Or two, in this case.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


We're out of state and couldn't make Tuesday's inaugural Blogaroni Awards. Larry @ Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind has the complete list of winners, reprinted here:
1) Special Event Coverage- KY3 Political Notebook

2) Comical Blog of the Year - The Holy Grail Press

3) News Blog of the Year - Branson Missouri

4) Entertainment Blog of the Year - Dad's On a Rant Again ("Lost" posts)

5) Photography Blog of the Year - Zach Is Here

6) Rookie Blog of the Year - Fat Jack's Erratic Rants

7) Most Improved Blog of the Year - Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind

8) Resource Blog of the Year - Springfield MO Soccer

9) Post of the Year - Hey kids we're going to Wally World! - Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind

10) Blog of the Year - CHATTER
Congratulations to all the winners. Tip of the pinhead to Larry L. for spearheading the Blogaronis. And thanks to all who voted for CHATTER.


A Missouri state senator wants to do just that. Tim Green, a Democrat from St. Louis, is pushing a bill that would force public school to take all ninth-grade students to a state prison. According to Show-Me News:
Superintendents or principals who fail to comply with the law would have their contracts terminated under the proposal.

The goal is to "show them that crime doesn’t pay," Green said. "We have a lot of forks in the road in our lives. One bad decision can ruin a young person’s entire life. Showing them the consequences might be enough to deter them from taking that wrong turn." ...

"School people are wondering who would bear the costs," (Green) said. "Schools are already under a tight crunch for money as it is to provide education. Added costs that will probably be the biggest deterrent in passage of the bill."
The biggest deterrent should be the fact that so-called "scared straight" programs don't work.


The singer's passing gets first alert from Desdinova, super villain of the Ozarks and winner of the point (Desdi was seven minutes ahead of MIT, according to the e-mails).

Who's Frankie Laine? The Associated Press explains:
Somewhat younger listeners may remember him best for singing the theme to the television show “Rawhide,” which ran from 1959 to 1966, and the theme for the 1974 movie “Blazing Saddles.”
That latter theme, by the way, was nominated for an Academy Award.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Ted Haggard, the disgraced hypocrite posing as a man of God, may be coming to Missouri.

Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals last year when a man came forward and said he and Haggard had been intimate. And, by the way, they'd also done a little meth.

Haggard is out of "intensive counseling" and now says he's "completely heterosexual," says Rev. Tim Ralph, one of Haggard's spiritual counselors.

The Associated Press reports:
"He is completely heterosexual," Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."

Ralph said the board spoke with people close to Haggard while investigating his claim that his only extramarital sexual contact happened with Mike Jones. The board found no evidence to the contrary.

"If we're going to be proved wrong, somebody else is going to come forward, and that usually happens really quickly," he said. "We're into this thing over 90 days and it hasn't happened." ...

Haggard said in an e-mail Sunday, his first communication in three months to church members, that he and his wife, Gayle, plan to pursue master's degrees in psychology. The e-mail said the family hasn't decided where to move but that they were considering Missouri and Iowa.
Maybe Branson would be a good fit for Haggard. There's already one disgraced evangelist hanging around; they could form a club. Wherever he moves, one thing is certain: Fleeing the scene of his crimes of hypocrisy won't save Ted Haggard from himself.


NASA astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak is now charged with attempted murder; she allegedly tried to bump off Colleen Shipman, who was reportedly too close (for Nowak's comfort) to space shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.

Nowak was the first Italian-American to go into space. From her official biography:
Lisa enjoys bicycling, running, skeet, sailing, gourmet cooking, rubber stamps, crossword puzzles, piano, and African violets. As an undergraduate she competed on the track team. Her parents, Alfredo and Jane Caputo, reside in Rockville, Maryland.
Godspeed, Lisa Marie Nowak.

Monday, February 05, 2007


The Game continues with a trio of celeb obits.

Two points to Brother Richard for the earliest spot on:

•Singer Billy Henderson of The Spinners. He was 67.

•Musician and "Funk Brother" Joe Hunter -- the first hire when Berry Gordy Jr. founded that little thing called Motown. Hunter was 79.

Our friend Fat Jack gets the point for alerting us to the obituary of Barbara McNair, who died over the weekend in Los Angeles. The singer-actress was 72.


Last week the City of Springfield contracted with DRC Emergency Services on a nearly $20 million clean-up of debris from the recent ice storm. City officials said then that the job could take a couple months.

No time to start like the present. From Louise Whall, the city's public-info boss (aka the Duchess of Debris): "The DRC Emergency Services crews have left their staging areas and are moving into their work zones across the City." Expect good footage on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Mike Remillard was a high-school basketball coach, until he decided to act like one. The Associated Press reports:
A high school coach who told his players at halftime to reach into their pants to "check their manhood" before returning to the basketball court was fired.

Mike Remillard was confronted after Leavitt Area High School Principal Patrick Hartnett learned that the coach told his players that the Jan. 23 game against Mount Ararat "was about who had the biggest (male genitalia) in town," Hartnett said in a statement.

"He then required his players to all stand up and put their hands down their pants and check their manhood," Hartnett said. All but one player followed the coach's instructions.
Remillard now says the tactic wasn't appropriate, and "I'm paying the price for it." And that's a shame.

Friday, February 02, 2007


The actor was best known for playing Capt. Greer on "The Mod Squad." As Variety notes:
Andrews also had a recurring role as Lt. Johnny Russo in "The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor," which ran from 1959 to 1962. He made numerous appearances on TV shows including "The Phil Silvers Show," "Star Trek" (where he played Kras, the second-ever appearance of a Klingon), "Gunsmoke," "Marcus Welby M.D.," "Kojak" and "Murder She Wrote."

Born Tiger Andrews in Brooklyn, he was a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. He began his acting career on Broadway and Off Broadway in productions such as "Mr. Roberts" and "From Here to Eternity." He is credited with introducing "Mack the Knife" in the original New York production of "The Threepenny Opera." He went on to direct and act in other adaptations of this play.
He made it in the movies when John Ford saw him in "Mr. Roberts" on Broadway and decided he could do it on screen, too.

The house gets the point.


AK spotted this AP report and now we're perplexed.

In Kansas City, two cops have been suspended (with pay). A lawsuit claims the officers arrested a pregnant woman, Sofia Salva, and refused her pleas for medical help. Salva had a miscarriage in jail. She was three months pregnant, by her own account.

From The AP:
(Salva) was arrested Feb. 5 and held overnight on traffic violations and outstanding city warrants. After being released the next morning, she delivered a premature baby boy who died immediately after birth, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Jackson County Circuit Court.
A first-trimester fetus is a "baby"? We're not cracking wise here -- maybe the language is from Silva's lawsuit -- but wouldn't it be more accurate to say she miscarried in jail?

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Thirty-nine years ago Thursday, Eddie Adams took this picture for The Associated Press.

The cutline was simple: General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon. Its impact was profound.


A surge of 21,000 troops in Iraq? Double that number. According to CNN:
A report from the Congressional Budget Office says President Bush's plan for a troop increase in Iraq could cost up to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment.

The plan could mean sending thousands of support troops in addition to the 20,000-plus combat troops the Defense Department has set for deployment.
Maybe as many as 25,000 support troops, in country and in harm's way. And here we thought that Halliburton was providing support to justify its fat government checks.


•Randy Turner @ The Turner Report pops the news about Karen Testa of The Associated Press. Testa, the former AP reporter for Springfield, is the new AP news editor for Massachusetts and Rhode Island. She also can say the word "muffy" to great effect, even when she's only talking about muffin tops.

•Jim Carrey, the comedian, is his own worst enemy. According to the New York Daily News, Carrey is difficult to the point of bizarre, reportedly unzipping and taking a whiz during a scene for the film, "The Number 23." Said urination was not in the script. Best bit from the story: Carrey was such a jerk on the set of "Fun With Dick and Jane" that the director now calls the film "Fun With Jane."

•From the "Hey, I Think That Stripper Likes Me" category: Reuters has a sad report on Ahmed Rashed, who faces five years of paper for stealing a cadaver's hand and giving it to a stripper. Cops found it when they searched the home of Linda Kay, who danced under the name "Zillah" at Hott 22, a club in New Jersey. Rashed gave Kay the hand as a tip. She apparently liked that sort of stuff.


The City Council meets at 1 p.m. Friday to consider an emergency bill related to the ice storm. From the council agenda:
A special ordinance accepting the bids of DRC, Inc. and Beck Disaster Recovery, Inc. for storm debris removal, disposal and monitoring services respectively, authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with such bidders, to seek reimbursement for all eligible expenses related to the 2007 Ice Storm, amending the budget of the Department of Public Works for the fiscal year 2006-2007 in the amount of Nineteen Million Seven Hundred Eighty Nine Thousand Three Hundred Ninety-one Dollars ($19,789,391) and declaring an emergency.
That is all.


Teresa Alejandra Cruz is 23. When she was 16 she gave birth to a 11.46-pound infant. That was nothing compared to this: Cruz's latest baby is even bigger.

An Associated Press report has Antonio Vasconcelos' weight listed at 14.5 pounds -- a runt compared to the world record of 22.5 pounds, but still one big baby. The AP reports:
"We haven't found any abnormality in the child, there are some signs of high blood sugar, and a slight blood infection, but that is being controlled so that the child can get on with his normal life in a few more days," Narciso Perez Bravo, the hospital's director, said.
The baby is 22 inches long.