Thursday, January 31, 2008


We first told you about CleanFlicks in July 2006, when a judge ruled the company could not scrub sex, language and violence from movies without the permission of the films' creators and owners.

Now CleanFlicks is back in the news, in a delightfully hypocritical way. As Christianity Today reports:
The co-founder of CleanFlicks, a video editing service once used by many Christians, has been arrested in Utah for allegedly paying a 14-year-old girl for sex.

Daniel Thompson, who ran CleanFlicks till the courts shut it down in 2006, had more recently operated Flix Club, a family-friendly edited-movie video business in Orem, Utah. He was arrested last Thursday on two charges of forcible sexual abuse and two charges of forcible sexual activity with a 14-year-old. Thompson is out on bail.

Thompson’s business partner at Flix Club, Isaac Lifferth, was also arrested on similar charges.

Thompson reportedly told police that Flix Club, which carried videos in which objectionable content had been edited out, was only a front, and that he and Lifferth were also involved in making and distributing porn movies.

Flix Club was forced to close last year after a federal court ruled that movie-editing businesses violated U.S. copyright law when they "sanitized" films by removing nudity, sex, profanity, and other objectionable content.

According to police reports, Thompson and Lifferth allegedly paid two 14-year-old girls $20 each to perform oral sex, and Lifferth allegedly had intercourse with a 16-year-old girl multiple times, including in the offices at Flix Club.
What happened at Flix Club did not stay at Flix Club.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Now that John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani are officially powdered toast and off the presidential buffet, the races are reduced to two Democrats and two Republicans. Mike Huckabee is a spoiler now for the fractured GOP, costing Mitt Romney enough votes to make him appear more like a silver medalist to John McCain's gold. Huckabee will gladly settle for bronze if it means a looksee as veep. McCain would be insane to even consider the notion, and because he is, he will.

Rush-ribbed conservatives hate McCain with a man-crush purity that's both touching and disturbing. They want all of him, but on their terms. His independence on campaign-finance reform, judicial nominees and immigration means he must be destroyed because if he loved them, he'd do what they say.

The others who've come wooing are so-so suitors. Ron Paul? A non-starter. Romney? Feh. And don't get them started on Huckabee. They want to draft someone -- anyone -- who might save them from the ash heap.

Maybe Newt Gingrich, they consider. Maybe Fred Thompson, again. The most warped souls want Dick Cheney to announce a bid to succeed President Bush. Anything to create a brokered convention. But a bandage atop a sucking chest wound will not save Republicans from November.

Could Ralph Nader? The former consumer advocate is "exploring" a 2008 presidential bid, a prospect that shrivels the scrotums of some Democratic strategists who remember Nader not for his Corvair criticism but for the banderillas he put into Al Gore's flanks in 2000.

This time out he'll draw the kook vote -- no help to the GOP. Only the Democrats can save Republicans, and they have a bizarre habit of doing just that. Twenty years ago this July, Mike Dukakis had a 17-point lead over then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Dukakis proceeded to tank -- literally -- and he slunk into the tall grass in the backyard, where the ghost of Adlai Stevenson hangs out. John Kerry can sometimes he found here with a machete, cutting an aimless path while mumbling about Swift Boats and pajamas.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama left standing, either one strong going into November, neither one looking like a candidate for the tall grass. But stranger things have happened in American politics, and the 20-year cycle for weirdness is due. Everything is too predictable right now in the race for president. The outcome seems too pat. Something must come to spoil the fun.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Dad: Tyrone Spellman, 27

Daughter: 17-month-old Alayiah Turman

Deed: He beat her to death after she pulled down his Xbox console.

Mom was pregnant and napping in another room when Spellman cracked the child's skull. He fled their Philadelphia home, was arrested, confessed, later recanted and said he had lied to protect Alayiah's mother.

The Associated Press reports:
An autopsy showed that Alayiah had suffered a broken arm about two weeks before she died - an injury that city social workers did not see on two visits to the house in late August, when they found the baby well.
Spellman was convicted of third-degree murder and child endangerment. He faces 23 to 47 years in prison.

Monday, January 28, 2008


The tornado is already here, so close you can hear the mother throwing shingles from someone else's roof onto your back deck, and the pressure on the eardrums is brutal. No way to outshout it. Not enough gusto in the lungs. No willpower in a tapped soul.

Duck and cover and pray to the gods or whatever for next Wednesday morning. That's when the storm lifts. Until then the horrible shrieking of the Super Duper Tuesday storm -- a freak and twisted twister if ever we saw one -- only grows.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have ads up in Missouri. The Republicans can't be far behind, meaning Mitt Romney, John McCain and (maybe) Mike Huckabee. Four, perhaps five misfits, all claiming they're the only person on Earth worth having as president. Millions of dollars given to them to spend on ads and bumper stickers, yard signs and gurus. Hopeless craziness.

The polls say Missouri is Hillary Country, and if that holds, Sen. Claire McCaskill -- an Obama backer -- will come close to matching Sen. Christopher Bond for bad endorsement judgment. He's a Rudy Giuliani guy, even went down to Florida last week to stump for Hizzoner, and by Feb. 5 Giuliani's campaign will be an unpleasant memory, a smear worthy of its creator.

Even if Rudy limps into Missouri and SD Tuesday, he's nothing. Pollster Rasmussen has it Huckabee and McCain in Missouri, with Romney in third. That same pollster has Missouri Democrats going for Hillary over Obama.

Another new poll has Clinton 13 points ahead of Obama in Missouri. He wins men (38-33), she wins women (55-24). He leads among blacks in Missouri, 45-34. Her lowest support among Dems is in southwest Missouri, and still she leads Omaba, 40-30 (the Ozarks has the biggest share of undecided Democrats in Missouri, at 13 percent).

According to the Research 2000 Missouri Poll, the Republican side of Missouri supports McCain over Huckabee and Romney, but not by much -- 31 percent for McCain, compared to 25 percent for Huckabee and 21 percent for Romney. But that's not so in the Ozarks. Here, Huckabee is the choice of more than one in three southwest Missouri Republicans, according to the poll.

Huckabee, the weird Lokai to Bill Clinton's Bele -- two men from the same small city, both superficially affable, both capable of warped debaucheries most of us could never imagine, crazed excesses that would make the Marquis de Sade flinch.

Huckabee, the former big man who shed more than 100 pounds in a year -- and says he relied only on diet and exercise. It's either steel will inside his brain or he had gastric bypass surgery. We'd rather believe he's crazy.

Huckabee, the Arkansan who told Rolling Stone:
"Science changes with every generation and with new discoveries, and God doesn't," he says. "So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict."
And the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. God, but the twister feels good right now, swirling and shrieking as it blasts out the windows.


Another year, another round of Blogaroni nominations -- the Blogaroni being the local version of the blogging Oscars (or maybe the local Tonys, only without the stagecraft).

Larry Litle at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind has the list of nominees. Your eternally grateful chief typist thanks the academy for nominating CHATTER in two categories: Best News Blog and Blog of the Year.

Voting is on through Feb. 15, 2008. The rules:
To vote, you must have an active local blog that was created before 1-01-08. You may only vote once, no matter how many blogs you have.
So surf over to Litle's blog, peruse the list of nominees and shoot him an e-mail. Break a leg, all.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Longyearbyen, Norway. It's a village on the Svalbard archipelago, close to the Arctic Circle. Go there when the balloon goes up.

Seeds from more than 200,000 crops are on their way to an underground vault in Longyearbyen, where they will, in theory, be safe for post-doomsday stragglers to use as they rebuild.

According to last year's news release about the project:
Svalbard’s airport is the northernmost point in the world to be serviced by scheduled flights – usually one a day. For nearly four months a year the islands are wrapped in total darkness.

The site was chosen, in part, because the ground is perpetually frozen, providing natural back-up refrigeration that would preserve the seeds should electricity fail. Yet, even here, project architects had to consider how to offset the potential impacts of climate change.

The design will accommodate even worst-case scenarios of global warming in two main ways. For one, the vault will be located high above any possible rise in sea level caused by global warming. The vault will be located some 130 meters (426 feet) above current sea level, ensuring that it will not be flooded.
Four months of darkness, sure, but also four months of the midnight sun, and this part of the Arctic Circle is enchanting.


Leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Died Sunday. According to the Salt Lake Tribune:
Hinckley's life spanned the 20th century, a time marked by LDS global outreach and technological advances. Hie saw his church evolve from a tiny sect in the Intermountain West to a respected religious movement with more than 13 million members worldwide. He embraced each new communication device, from radio to satellite to YouTube, as a chance to spread the Mormon word.

He began his career in the 1930s as a missionary defending the faith on a soapbox in London's Hyde Park and lived to see the country's first viable Mormon candidate for president.

Through it all, Hinckley worked tirelessly to gain acceptance for his church on the world's stage. "We are not a weird people," Hinckley told Mike Wallace in a 1995 "60 Minutes" interview. With the shrewdness of a politician, Hinckley downplayed the more controversial aspects of LDS history.

He welcomed the world to Utah for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, promising everyone they could get a drink here and accepted one of America's highest honors -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Became the church's 15th president in March 1995, when he was 84 years old.


... Judicious Blatherings, and no, we don't know what took us so long to link to it. Wry and sly, and the brother can write.

You'll find Judicious Blatherings in the CHATTERWORTHY sidebar. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Son of Marlon. Convicted of manslaughter in the death of his sister's boyfriend. Died of pneumonia on Saturday.


The noise. The infernal, incessant noise -- nothing 5/4 cool like John Bonham doing "Four Sticks," but a pounding that stutters like the kit in a Britney Spears track. "Toxic," maybe. Or maybe it's from Madonna's "Ray of Light." Either or. There's nothing in it that tears away the pretense and tears down the gut. Nothing but hollow pounding and it's coming from the Democrats, the only party capable of slipping and falling face-first in its own waste, drowning in its own shit.

Give them a cinch and they insist on making it close. They will blame a nailbiter in November on the nefarious tactics of their political opponent. Don't believe it. The Democrats of 2008 are perfectly poised to bitch and moan their way out of an electoral landslide.

The pentapolis of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich is now down to a trio, but really a duo, because Edwards may be coming to Springfield, Mo., but his heart and soul will be somewhere else that day, hiding from the realities of a decomposing campaign. No one thinks he can win. The goal now is deciding the owner of the backside that will feel the sliding intrusion of Edwards' shiv. Hillary? Barack? Too early to decide, and both targets are too tempting. Like the blade when it pierces, revenge should be sharp and cold and unexpected.

Neither Obama nor Clinton will notice the knife's plunge -- they might see Edwards flash a shark-like grin, or maybe hear a honey-tongued epithet; everything sounds so much sweeter when it's doused in a Carolinian twang -- but they won't see it because they'll be too busy with the bloody knuckles and concussions sustained in their own disgusting fist fight.

Edwards might get away with a manslaughter rap, you know. Justified homicide isn't an unreasonable outcome, except Clinton knows too many dangerous people and Obama is a made man in Chicago politics. Edwards will have to do some time -- but it will be in moderate accommodations, nothing too punishing or demoralizing. In due time he will be rehabilitated.

The fates are muddier for Clinton and Obama. The Pentapolis of the Old Testament is remembered only for the two classy signposts of Sodom and Gomorrah, where hospitality was definitely not served in heaping helpings, and look what happened. Salt and bitter. Harsh and mean.

A mean streak runs through both the Clinton and Obama camps. Obamaniacs can't stand the nuclear weapon that the Clintonistas possess -- the BOAB known as Bill, with the power to dissuade enemies both foreign and domestic. He's an ex-president, dammit, and it's a pretty small club these days, what with Reagan and Ford kicking the bucket and a confused Carter wandering off the property with increasing rapidity. No wonder Bill and George the First have such curious common ground.

Eleanor Roosevelt once observed that campaign spouses should "always be on time and do as little talking as humanly possible." But she never knew Bill. It is not humanly possible for him to stop scheming, and it's not always a bad trait -- Eleanor's husband dug bold, persistent experimentation, and in his best moments, Bill Clinton is capable of brilliance.

But the worst moments bring out brutality, and the verbal pummeling for which Bill is famous. He's in full rasp these days against the forces of evil who won't let go and bend to his reality that Hillary will win the nomination of her party. Bill's party. Even if it takes calling out the Tiananmen tanks and lobbing the Bill bomb.

Ridiculous waste of firepower -- but we've learned to expect no less from Clintonistas. Once the first bullet is fired -- sometimes by others, often by them -- they shellac the land with everything in the arsenal. It's quite the bang to watch, if you're properly dosed, but exhaustion inevitably sets in until you feel slimy behind heavy lids. Doesn't take away from the gutter arousal of witnessing an ass kicking, but there's always blood to wash off, and unless you're careful the stain sets.

"Machine politics!" cry the Obamaniacs, correct but clueless. Their leader, no innocent, knows all about machines. He has a fine and powerful one, and uses it to gull his supporters into believing that Bill Clinton has no business talking up his wife and talking down her opponent. He deludes them with the idea that a Hillary win means an actual Clinton dynasty. He tries to convince them, through his Barack bots, that Hillary would have Republicans in an uproar -- but that Barack could bring them around and unite the country.

Obama's machine spreads these rotten memes like nasty oil spurts from a broken engine block. The worst one warns that his followers won't support the Democratic candidate for president if it isn't Him.

Their ilk pulled this in 2000 when they said they wanted change, and Al Gore was no different than George Bush, only back then the machines were run by Bill Bradley and Ralph Nader. Gore was the establishment, the conventional. The starry-eyed who turned their noses up at him got their change from Bush.

There's still time for Dems to stop their idiocy. Still time for the Cult of Barack to snap out of its infatuation -- and for Clinton to mend fences, kiss ass, muzzle her husband. She does that, she wins.

Once she's in the White House as jefe, Hillary won't leave Bill much, if any, time for policy wonking -- her Oval Office, Bubba, not yours. He'll have even less room to roam. The Secret Service and all its potential for fatal mischief will belong to her, and no one thinks she won't use it, especially if she suspects Bill is sniffing around on some sultry summer night. Poor sumbitch. He'll never know what hit him.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Older Brother Robert (not to be confused with Younger Brother Richard) has decided at the ripe, round age of 50 to start the blogging thing.

Check him out at Let's Talk Sports, a blog about -- you guessed it -- sports. You'll also find a link in the CHATTERWORTHY blogroll, on the right-hand side of this page.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Gore everywhere, and not the Al kind. The political landscape of January 2008 is saturated with blood and brains. Tiny bits of skull stud the mess like pieces of broken tile, the sort of bad art deco done by people who watch too much HGTV.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt held a news conference on Wednesday and actually laughed and smiled. The first time it happened the heads of a few reporters and opinion writers immediately exploded (the shooters survived intact because they have seen and heard everything; nothing a politician says or does can surprise a photog). A mult box was liberally splashed with blood, and from that point forward everyone's recording was marred by a low hum.

No one among the sane bought Blunt's excuses for not seeking a second term. This was largely because Blunt never lived up to his surname. Had he said something like -- Polls showed I was losing to a guy named Nixon, and Christ, if that isn't bad, I don't know what is. I'm packing it in, boys and girls, getting out while the getting's good. See you suckers in Hell. -- well, heads still would have exploded, but at least there would be a reason for the sanguinary scene. We would get the last W in our filthy mitts to go with the Who, What, When and Where. We would know truth. We would know the Why.

For now we know nothing that's real. There is only a suspicion that Matt Blunt has been replaced with some sort of malfunctioning robot, an incredible fake that looks and talks like him, but has a touch too much good humor. We will know for sure it's a cyborg if it starts bedding down in the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson City, or maybe picks up a phone and talks with Roy Blunt.


Mitt Romney has his own exploding head problem, only it's not his noggin in danger of becoming blood pudding. It's the other guys running against him. They hate his guts.

According to a New York Times report, Romney has become "the most disliked" candidate, the black-hole equivalent to Miss Congeniality:
“The glee the other candidates go after Romney with is really unique,” said Dan Schnur, a Republican strategist who worked on (John) McCain’s presidential campaign bid in 2000 but is not affiliated with any campaign now. ...

Mr. Schnur used a schoolyard analogy to compare Mr. Romney, the ever-proper Harvard Law School and Business School graduate, to Mr. McCain, the gregarious rebel who racked up demerits and friends at the Naval Academy.

“John McCain and his friends used to beat up Mitt Romney at recess,” Mr. Schnur said.
Bam! More heads shatter and spray. These belong to the conservatives who despise McCain for his campaign-finance loving ways (not to mention his soft stance on immigration -- he doesn't want to strangle illegals with his bare hands, unless they're from Vietnam). They think McCain is nuts, and even though we happen to agree, it's difficult to hate the guy for it. When those eyes get to dancing in McCain's misshapen head you can catch a glimpse of the hell-with-it devil infesting his brain, and damned if it isn't endearing in a goofy gramps sort of way.

Hardline conservatives don't feel that warm mojo. Screw McInsane, I won't vote for him and the party can suck it. Same goes for Huckabee. No less than The Godfather says McCain and Huckabee are destroyers:
I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party, it's going to change it forever, be the end of it. A lot of people aren't going to vote. You watch.
Thus Rush throws his considerable weight behind Romney, by default. Tepid but tolerable. The country-club Republicans say Mitt's good enough on abortion, on gays, on all the social issues, because he's a damned fine businessman and a good-looking fella and that doesn't mean we're gay, we just appreciate a mighty fine looking man, someone with a chiseled chin and silver at the temples and five handsome sons, none of them looking too hairy, and did we mention we're not gay?


Over at Free Republic the gore is ankle-deep, Dexter deep. Conservative darling Duncan Hunter has endorsed the much-maligned Huckabee, and Freepers are freaking. They hate Huckabee because he reminds the Freepers too much of Bill Clinton -- a formidable pol who wears the mask of the optimist. Besides, his last name makes them think of hillbillies.

The discussion about Hunter's endorsement makes Scanners look like Gumby -- the Claymation version, not Eddie Murphy, dammit. It's all confusion and bad blood on the slippery floor, and it's only January. The chance of more mayhem is great.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt did the unthinkable and announced he would not run for reelection. And while the announcement caused heads to explode in some deadline-minded newsrooms across the state, your typing pals at CHATTER were not surprised.

In November 2006 we predicted that Blunt wouldn't run for a second term as governor. We made a similar prediction in December 2006.

(Granted, most of our other predictions fell flat. But we'll take being a Blunt seer.)

There was no way Blunt was going to run for another term. Too many signs pointed the way:

•He's never held an elective office for more than one term. He was a state representative for a single two-year term. He was secretary of state for one term. Why change stripes just because you're governor?

•He's been solidly unpopular for most of his time in the governor's office. Blunt's 2005 cuts to Medicaid made him a huge target for Democrats -- so huge that Jay Nixon, the attorney general (and governor wanna-be) has been running on that single issue for more than a year.

•He never said anything about a second term in office. Any politician with an eye to the future would outline what he'd like to do in the next four years. Blunt's silence on that front was loud.

So what does Matt Blunt do with the rest of his life? Here's one scenario:

He spends a lot of time this spring shaking the trees for Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor running for president. Blunt and Romney are friends, and Republicans need Missouri if they want to retain the White House. Now that Blunt's not running for reelection, his approval rating will surely go up -- important for a competitive showing in November.

If Romney wants to rattle the political world, he'll name his choice for veep in advance of the convention -- and he'll pick Matt Blunt.

Only one fly in that salve. Can the nation stand a Mitt-Matt ticket? For those who giggle at the sing-song sound, the answer is self-evident.

Tuesday's news brings bad tidings for Missouri Democrats. They've lost the boogeyman at the top of the ticket. Jay Nixon has spent his time running against Matt Blunt; he's done very little to tell people why they should vote for him. That worked fine when Blunt was the incumbent opponent. Now it's just a dated, jaded strategy.

Missouri Republicans could select Treasurer Sarah Steelman or Rep. Ken Hulshof to run for governor. Either candidate would have more appeal than Blunt did with moderates -- and Nixon would have a much harder time demonizing them.

Democrats wanted Matt Blunt out of the way. Now that they have their wish, they may be sorry.


This is what The Associated Press has:
A New York Police Department spokesman says the actor Heath Ledger has been found dead at a downtown Manhattan residence.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


On CNN, Wolf Blitzer wraps up the stumbling that passes for speech and introduces more "Ballot Bowl," a stupid and meaningless nickname for the cable network's political coverage on this Saturday. No one's dressed out for full-contact football or putting heat to hash, the only things that should happen in a bowl.

But wiser pinheads have thought this one out in retreats and meetings of the operating committee and top-dog managers. A bowl it is. Who are any of us to argue with the country's second-place cable news network? It isn't worth the effort to bitch. FOX News knows that lipstick-laden prompter monkeys are key to winning viewers and bad reviews. Screw the bowl nicknames. People would rather screw the FOX anchors, especially the ones with legs that would look comfortable around someone's neck ...

Read the rest at our other joint, Act Your Old Age.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


... we said to Addie Broyles, a fellow traveler in our lunge through life. Alas, too late. Too late! And now she is destined to be on "What Not To Wear," that show on TLC where poorly dressed souls are torn to shreds before being blessed with five grand worth of fresh threads.

She will still travel the odd path -- they can trash her clothes, but they can't trash her soul, dammit, they can't even touch it -- but the thought of That Gal From Aurora in styling duds is too much right now. We must recline.

Read all about it on La Vie Dansante, her blog.


Actor, known for his drug use, now dead. Here's his page on IMDB.

Doc Larry wins the point. Selah!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


We have friends -- really, a few -- who say Sen. Hillary Clinton can't win because she's "unelectable" (conveniently overlooking the fact that she's been elected, twice, to the U.S. Senate). They say she's too polarizing, too harsh, too strong.

But right now she's the most-electable Democrat running for president, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll. And three Republicans carry more negative impact with registered voters:
Would Definitely Vote Against That Candidate in November

Romney 62%
Giuliani 55%
Huckabee 52%
Clinton 43%
McCain 43%
Obama 38%

Would Definitely Vote For That Candidate in November

Clinton 37%
Obama 30%
McCain 22%
Giuliani 19%
Huckabee 15%
Romney 13%
In head-to-head match-ups, Clinton and Barack Obama beat any Republican presidential candidate.


No endorsement from Greene County Democrats before Missouri's February primary. But Barack Obama's backers are carving out space next week at local Dem HQ in hopes of picking up new support.

The e-mail blurb from local Democrats comes with a strong front-end caveat:
The Greene County Democratic Party is not endorsing any candidate for President. However, we do encourage people becoming involved in Democratic politics and will forward information involving local Democratic Presidential events.

Colin Milligan, Field Organizer for Missouri's 7th Congressional District, will be working out of the Greene County Democrats Central Committee Headquarters this Monday and Tuesday from 9:30 am till 5 pm. He will be happy to meet with anyone who wishes to talk about the Obama campaign and ways to get involved. Just stop on by and say hello.
One local elected Dem put it this way: "Hillary has my head, but Obama has my heart." Milligan's in Springfield to pull on those heartstrings.


The Rev. Michael Dowd used to be a creationist preacher. Now firmly on the side of science, Dowd preaches harmony between religion and evolution.

According to the Statesman in Austin:
Dowd believes that God's revelations didn't stop in biblical times but continued in the form of scientific discovery, a worldview that he thinks is important as public schools grapple with how to teach evolution, Americans choose a new president, and the world faces environmental threats. ...

Dowd said he understands the fear of allowing science to trump faith because he was once a biblical literalist who believed that the Earth was 6,000 years old.

Over the years, though, he said, a Passionist priest led him to find a more powerful narrative of God and discover a "God-glorifying, Christ-edifying view of evolution."
You can download a free copy Dowd's book at his website, Thank God For Evolution. Worth checking out, at least.


That state's primary is this coming Tuesday. Mitt Romney's lead isn't unexpected; his father is a former Michigan governor. Also not unexpected: his deep need to win this primary. All his yammering about winning "two silvers" in Iowa and New Hampshire still means he lost those contests, despite his strategy to win both.

A new Detroit Free-Press poll delivers the good news for Romney:
Romney leads John McCain, 27%-22%, with Mike Huckabee in third at 16%, the poll showed. Romney’s core of support is in metro Detroit, where he has a 2-1 advantage. ...

Huckabee is a favorite among GOP voters motivated by faith. Thirty-eight percent said it matters if the next president is a devout Christian, the highest number among attributes.

Among that 38%, Huckabee leads Romney by a small margin. Voters who identify themselves as evangelical comprise 29% of the Republican primary vote, and they favor Huckabee almost 2-1 over Romney.
A potentially ginormous fly in the ointment is the limited Democratic primary. Sen. Barack Obama and John Edwards aren't on the ballot:
Obama and Edwards took their names off because Michigan violated national party rules by moving its primary before Feb. 5.

It's not known how many Democrats who are unhappy with their choices will choose to vote on the Republican ballot. Obama and Edwards supporters are urging a vote for "uncommitted."
Mischief-minded Democrats, is Rep. Ron Paul in your future?


The Democrats have it made this primary election cycle. Either Sen. Barack Obama or Sen. Hillary Clinton will top the ticket. The loser could easily wind up as No. 2 on the ticket.

Nothing messy, unlike the Republicans. Conservatives have split -- social cons with Mike Huckabee, fiscal cons for Mitt Romney, defense cons with Sen. John McCain, security cons with Rudy Giuliani, Goldwater cons behind Rep. Ron Paul. Quite a few Free Republicmembers were rooting for Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep. Tom Tancredo, and if you say "huh?" you won't be alone.

Fred Thompson, the actor-politician-actor, is Mr. Heartthrob to the Freepers; in their eyes, he's Ronald Reagan for the new century. No, we're not kidding. After months of a moribund campaign, Thompson came out swinging this week in a debate in South Carolina. That performance turned on the money spigots, and now Thompson has a chance -- not a huge one, but a chance, and right now the GOP will take anything it can get, so long as the offering is properly vocal in condemning illegal immigration, abortion and gay marriage.

Scrambling for a solution in an already-sobering election scenario, the GOP's rank-and-file is willing to consider anything. Check this post on The Corner at National Review:
The two candidates most acceptable to conservatives, Thompson and Romney, are in not so good shape. The three least acceptable, Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani, are in relatively good shape. It's entirely possible that the two conservatives will be knocked out early and the eventual nominee will be unacceptable to a large segment of the base.
The proposed solution?
My crazy idea is that Thompson and Romney join forces now. Thompson would be the President and CEO, Romney would be the COO. Each would play to his strengths. Fred would work on broad principles and policies (many have commented that he has the most complete set of positions on taxes, entitlements, etc.); Mitt would actually run the government on a day-to-day basis. He would tear into the Washington bureaucracy, reorganize it, and fix it - exactly what he wants to do and has done so well before.
A crazy idea, sure. But what the hell. The GOP won't be running on its agenda this fall. The national campaign will all be about tearing down the Democrats and coming up with inane nicknames for Clinton and/or Obama. If she's the candidate, it's all about "Hitlery." If he wins, you'll hear a lot about "Hussein Osama." When all else fails, start screaming.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Plenty of people last Thursday night were ready to write the political obituary for Sen. Hillary Clinton. Even some of her own people were quietly panicking that Sen. Barack Obama's Iowa caucus win meant doom for Clinton.

Now New Hampshire goes and spoils everything for the spoiler.

Clinton's Tuesday night win in the nation's first primary election means the Democrats are far from coronating a candidate to run for the White House. The only clear thing to come out of New Hampshire is the still-smiling (and still politically dead) face of John Edwards. He insisted he would run all the way to the convention. He probably will, and he still won't make a difference. Fork, meet Edwards. Pity, but only kind of.

Clinton's New Hampshire upset -- polls showed she was supposed to lose big to Obama, perhaps by double-digits -- has 'net pundits agog. Freepers are wailing and gnashing teeth, dismayed by Clinton's New Hampshire victory. So are some Democrats.

Republicans showed their desire to keep Mike Huckabee at arm's length. The winner in Iowa finished third in New Hampshire. Two honeymoons cut short by voters. Two races revived. Democracy wins.

DOG 1, MAN 0

Dog bites man, only worse. Let the Houston Chronicle do the telling:
In a freak hunting accident, a Baytown man was killed over the weekend when his dog stepped on his loaded shotgun, triggering a discharge that penetrated his truck's tailgate and then struck him, officials said.

Perry Alvin Price III was hunting on a lease near Stowell in Chambers County Saturday and had shot down a goose but had not seen where it landed, sheriff's investigators said.

The 46-year-old math teacher from Baytown's Robert E. Lee High School then put his shotgun in the back of his truck and was about to open the tailgate to release his tracking dog when the shotgun fired, investigators said. The blast struck Price in the thigh.

Price died from severe blood loss from his femoral artery shortly after arriving about 6:20 p.m. at Winnie Medical Center. Price's hunting companion and a former student, Daniel Groberg, said he tried to stop the bleeding with clothing before taking him from the hunting lease off FM 1941.

Paw prints from Price's beloved chocolate Labrador retriever, Arthur, were found on the muddy shotgun, said Chambers County Sheriff Joe LaRive. ...

Price's sister speculated that the dog was anxious to begin the pursuit.

"His dog was so excited," said Patricia Payne. "He was jumping all around, because he was about to get out and go get that goose.

"That gun had to be knocked around just right to fire. I believe the dog knocked the safety off and hit the trigger, too," she said. "Price was always so careful."
Man's best friend. Just keep him away from shotguns.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Alcides Moren, a window washer, fell 47 stories. And lived. According to this New York Times report, his recovery is nothing short of a miracle:
He was sitting up when firefighters arrived at the building, the Solow Tower, at 265 East 66th Street. He was "on the borderline of consciousness" when he was wheeled into the emergency room, Dr. Barie said, despite serious injuries to his brain, his spine, his chest and his abdomen, along with several fractured ribs, a broken right arm and two broken legs.
He fell last month. His recovery is expected to take a year.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Donald Luis Cooper, 32, is an odd duck. He apparently likes to have sex with dead people. Now he's going to prison. According to the Daily Press in Victorville, Calif.:
In February 2003, Cooper, 32, and his girlfriend, Chaunee Marie Helm, 30, were working for All-County Transportation, driving bodies from Victor Valley Community Hospital to the county morgue in San Bernardino.

Security cameras in the morgue captured Cooper sexually assaulting the body of Robyn Gillett, an Adelanto girl who had died of the flu. Helm served as a lookout.

But Cooper was not charged with necrophilia because it wasn’t illegal at the time. He pleaded guilty to mutilating grave remains and received a suspended two-year prison sentence.

If he kept his nose clean for the five years of his probation, he wouldn’t have to serve any additional jail time beyond the time he spent waiting for trial.
But instead of keeping his nose clean, Cooper was caught in a house where small children lived. Seven kids, in all, most belonging to his current girlfriend. The house was filthy:
“There were animal feces and urine on the floor, in the children’s room, the living room,” said Code Enforcement Supervisor Tony Genovesi. “There were feces on the wall. The odor was terrible. ... Any time you have animals that are defecating inside the house and urinating inside the house, the odor’s pretty bad.”
Cooper's probation was revoked. Now he's headed back to jail for a year. Nice guy.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

HAPPY 2008

So glad to make it to this side of the fence, where we can look forward to Dec. 31, 2008, when Dick Clark makes another uncomfortable appearance on New Year's Eve. Man, that's some creepy-good TV.

Resolved for 2008:
*More posts.

*More odd news.

*More compassion.

*More understanding.

*Fewer complaints.
And fewer cigarettes. Happy New Year.