Nasty, Brutish & Short

June 2007 Archives

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TB at The Celestial!

June 29, 2007 08:57 AM

The doorman at one of my favorite spots has tested positive and is in isolation.  Now the residents of the Tower are being tested.  Yuck.

The local FredHeads are mobilizing...

...they now have "information packets."  But they also only had six people in attendance.  I would have left that part out, if I were they. 

"I love Jesus but I drink a little." Who doesn't!

June 28, 2007 09:47 PM

Immigration Aftermath

So I guess I need to write about it, since I've said so much thus far.  I was in a CLE earlier today, so I missed all the excitement as it was happening.  And now it already seems like old news.

But anyway... Yes, I'm thrilled with the results, but I am still very annoyed with the President for putting all of us through this crap.  It was great to see conservatives rise up and drive a stake through the heart of this thing, but why should we have had to?  The effort it required was just ridiculous, and it was draining.  I do not understand why the President thought this was so important to propose, much less pursue so aggressively.  All that energy could have been directed to something productive.  So W's still on my shit list.

Also on my list?  George Voinovich of course.  Yes, in the end, he voted the right way.  But what's with all the coyness?  Why wasn't he willing to say what his position was?  And then he indignantly declared on Sean Hannity's show that he would not be intimidated by all the, you know, citizens who were calling his office.  Well, at the end of the day, he was intimidated.  The whole thing just unbelievable, and I hope it will not soon be forgotten.

And why the hell were bloggers the only people who were willing to ask Senator Voinovich what his position was?  He clearly doesn't pay the blogosphere much heed, and while that's foolish, it's his prerogative.  But he wouldn't have ignored a call from a "real" reporter.  So why didn't they call?  Even if they got an evasive answer, that would have been worth reporting too.  So Ohio's mainstream media are also on my shit list.

Last on the list?  Senator Brownback.  I heard him speak when he was in town a few months ago, and I thought he did a terrific job.  Well if you haven't heard, he voted yes right at the very beginning, during the alphabetical vote, because he thought cloture was going to pass. Then, when it was clear it would not pass, he switched his vote to a "no."  He clearly thought he was acting in a way that would help his Presidential chances, but his political instincts were exactly the opposite of politically astute.  Strange.  Very strange.  And disappointing.  It's not like he won't be punished for it, though.  His presidential ambitions are over.

But the good news of the day is that now we can all move on.  But not forget.

Judge Lipps rules that the case against Chad Metzgar...

...will stay in juvenile court.  Key to the judge's reasoning?  He had not been in trouble before.

But this part is weird: 

[Judge] Lipps said it’s still unclear exactly what happened that afternoon.

He turned to Dustin and Derek [two other friends who were in the car, and injured], asking, “Do you have enough courage to tell investigators what happened that day?”

Derek Linderman said he doesn’t remember.

He doesn't remember?  That's disturbing.  What's he covering up?  And what did Dustin say?  Nothing, apparently.  But due to the Enquirer's crack reporting, we'll never know.

If I were the prosecutor, I'd actually consider charging Derek and Dustin with obstruction of justice.  I'm not buying any memory loss crap, either.

In other coverage:  The Cincinnati Black Blog describes this as "white justice."

PREVIOUSLY: Local Examples of Prosecutorial Misconduct

Liveblogging Voinovich on Hannity

June 27, 2007 02:30 PM

[Scroll down, there are numerous updates]

Sean's back after the bottom of the hour break.  "Joining us now from the Great State of Ohio, Senator George Voinovich." 

Phone went dead, Voinovich sounds he doesn't know where he is.  Sean asks if he wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.  Voinovich says he's for it, but doesn't even know what it is.  How embarrassing.  Does he follow the news at all? 

Hannity asks if he'll vote for cloture tomorrow, Voino hems, haws, and gasps, then says he owes the American people a vote for or against it.  He's trying not to say what he'll do.

Voiny then says they have important amendments to consider.  They talk about Senator Hutchinson's amendment, which he says is very important.  He voted for it, but then, HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IF IT PASSED TODAY.  He voted for it, but he can't even remember if he voted with the majority.  He sounds massively confused.

He'll take all the amendments into consideration as they move on.  Yeah right.

Voinovich then says the reason we are in this mess is because we approved money for border security and didn't spend it (Hun?  Yeah right they didn't spend it!).  Again, he says he is going to weigh all of this, and not tell us today if he is for it or against it.

The Senator then says he has been threatened by people calling his office, telling him this is the end of his political career.  "YOU DO NOT INTIMIDATE GEORGE VOINOVICH" he yells.  It is the fault of talk radio, he says.  But then he says if you don't like how he votes, you should take it into consideration the next time he's up for re-election.  Sure will, Senator!

Then it gets a little crazy.  Voinovich tries to scream down Sean, and won't let the host talk.  Says current law stinks.  Hannity says: "No one is enforcing the current law!"

Hannity: "You can't even tell me you've read this bill."  Voinovich says he has read "most of the summaries on it."

Voinovich: "The border today is more secure today than it was three years ago."

Hannity: "These borders aren't anywhere near secure.  I've been there, I've seen them.  This bill has had no hearings, no analysis.  400,000 guest workers every year, eligible for permanent status.  Penalty is meager for those who won't respect our laws. Security measures are reduced from last year."  Hannity is talking facts and specifics.

Oh no!  Sean made the Senator very, very angry.  The Senator: "It's not worthy to talk to you.  I'm disappointed in you, I had more respect for you." 

Hannity: "Senator you had a chance.  I'll leave you for the whole hour.  Have you done a cost analysis on this?"

But clearly, the Senator doesn't know how much it will cost.  They talk past each other.

Voinovich says if they stay here, get a job, then they'll be able to get the social security.  What?  Where did that come from? 

The Senator: "If you count the number of minutes you've had, you got to talk more than I did."

Voinovich sounds like a three year old.  They argue more.

[I have to stop listening for a minute, because I am too angry.] 

Hannity: "Congress is rushing this through."  He still wants to know if they have done a cost analysis and what it will do to Medicare, social security, etc.  "What will it cost the American taxpayer?"

Voinovich does not know, says he is getting off the phone.

Hannity: "You're running away because you can't answer a question!"

Voinovich: "I'll be back when you can be rational."  He hangs up the phone.

All in all, an appalling spectacle.  The Senator acted like a spoiled, petulant child. 

UPDATE:  Hannity is going to re-run the entire interview during the last half hour of his show today.  That's 5:30 on 55KRC, if you're interested and local. 

In other coverage:

Keeler Political Report: It was a "trainwreck of an interview."  "Voinovich's attitude was truly unbelievable."

Laura's Musings: The Senator made "quite a disturbing spectacle of himself."

Paindealer: "We may have just heard the beginning of the end of Voinovich's political career on live radio."

Hot Air has the audio, and the comment thread over there is hilarious.  Michelle Malkin herself says " Good gawd. Keep talking, George. You’re the best help we have in killing the bill out there."

BizzyBlog: "I told myself, this is going downhill in a big hurry.  Did it ever."

Thespis Journal: "Voinovich appears to be totally lost!"

World Net Daily: "Voinovich self destructs on Hannity."

Weapons of Mass Destruction: "What a humiliating performance."  They have more, here.  My favorite? "Nasty Brutish and Short has a liveblogged "transcript" that just has to be entered in to the record as Prosecution's Exhibit Number One on why The Crying Man does NOT deserve to be re-elected."  Awww.  Shucks.

Interested Participant: "In the most egregious way, he has disrespected his constituency."

Wow.  In The Corner on National Review Online, Katherine Lopez posts a scathing review: "At least he didn't cry."  This is, of course, a reference to the time Senator Voinovich CRIED on the Senate floor over John Bolton's appointment as U.N. Ambassador.

Blogmeister USA: "Retirement might be a good option."

Presto Pundit: "Is your Senator as well informed as a radio talk show host?  If the topic is the Kennedy-Bush amnesty bill, the answer is very likely no."

Porkopolis is not happy either.

Right Angle Blog: "WOW!  Voinovich may have single-handedly killed the amnesty bill by embarrassing himself and Ohio today."  "By pure serendipity I happened to be listening when George Voinovich was on today. I was riveted! Like witnessing a horrible car wreck bursting into flames - you don't want to acknowledge the horror, but you can't turn away."

NixGuy: "The one where Voinovich pisses off the entire Ohio GOP blogosphere."

Snarky Bastards: "Maybe the most embarrassing media appearance I’ve ever heard from an office holder."

Sue Bob's Diary:  "Despite the fact that the man can’t answer the simplest questions about the bill, he condescends to his constituency and snivels about intimidation. Though he claims HE can’t be intimidated—he cowardly runs away from Hannity’s persistent—though reasonable—questions."

Thanks to Bizzyblog and Weapons of Mass Destruction for their help with some of the links.

Britain has a new Prime Minister. Gordon Brown will never be as good as this one, though.

RecepciĆ³n a Brutish repugnante y al cortocircuito!!!

June 26, 2007 01:02 PM

Or as our grandparents used to say "Welcome to Nasty, Brutish and Short."  And yes, the Immigration bill is back on track.  Thanks for nothing, Senator Voinovich, et al.

UPDATE: Senator Voinovich will be on Sean Hannity's radio show tomorrow afternoon.  To my knowlege, this will be the first time he has spoken to any member of the media about the immigration bill.  It will be interesting to see how he defends his position.

Faith Hill Needs the Dixie Chicks Treatment...

June 25, 2007 11:33 PM

...and should be banned by country radio.  While I'm not surprised, here she is last week, giving a statement of protest in Toronto:

Faith Hill

I'm all about free speech, but I'm also all about not buying music from ignorant fools.  So let the free market do its work on Faith Hill.

Antioch Alumni just need $39,600,000 more

From the Dayton Business Journal (and if that's not an oxymoron, I don't know what is.  Have you driven through downtown Dayton lately?  It's a ghost town.  Nothing but bums and tumbleweed).  But anyway:

Antioch College alumni raised $400,000 over the weekend as part of a $40 million push to save the college.

Pathetic.  The alumni comes up with $400,000?  And they need $40,000,000?  Where are they going to get the rest?  It's not like one of their Freegan alumni is going to find that in a dumpster.  They're going to try, though:

About 500 alumni were in Yellow Springs Friday though Sunday for a homecoming weekend that turned into an organizing effort against the board of trustee's decision to shutter the school.

Homecoming in June?  And it was an "organizing effort"?  Nothing is more fun than replacing what is supposed to be a weekend of drinking and football with a protest.  Wild times!

The alumni association has formed a nonprofit organization, College Revival Fund, to raise $40 million by the end of the year, said alumni board member Steve Duffy. The group hopes to raise $1 million in the next 60 days.

Steve Duffy?  Don't we know him?  Oh yes, I believe we do.  And per the Dayton Business Courier, thanks to loyal assistant librarians like Steve:

Alumni and faculty are fighting the decision to close. The alumni weekend included several meetings between alumni, faculty and the board of trustees members. Faculty met with legal experts among the alumni to discuss potential legal action to stop the closing, said Dimi Reber, a retired dance professor.

You know what they say: "Hell hath no fury like a retired dance professor."  Bring on the lawyers!  Sue the trustees!  Git giggy wit it, dance alumni of Antioch!

[Because I'm all about helping people, I will say that the disgruntled alumni should have their lawyers contact the Ohio Attorney General, and do a little research about the cy pres doctrine, which states that:

When a gift is made by will or trust (usually for charitable or educational purposes), and the named recipient of the gift does not exist, has dissolved or no longer conducts the activity for which the gift is made, then the estate or trustee must make the gift to an organization which comes closest to fulfilling the purpose of the gift.

In other words, people who have given money to Antioch over the years may have a legit gripe.  They may be able to argue that their money should be put to the cause for which it was intended.  This is an ancient doctrine, and thus a tool of the patriarchy, so I'm sure the Antioch alumni won't in good conscience avail themselves of its opportunities the cy pres doctrine may provide.  But still... isn't it beautiful the way I just "gave back"?  Yes, I'm a one man legal aid society  You do not need to email me your thanks, Antioch alumni.]

Supposedly Senator Voinovich is on the fence about the Immigration Bill

Or at least, so says the well-respected Bizzyblog.  He was told by both Voinovich's D.C. office and the Cleveland office that the Senator has not made up his mind and is taking comments from constituents.

I find it hard to believe he'd do the right thing this time, since he wasn't willing to last time.  But who knows, maybe the calls and the polls are having an effect.  The number is (202) 224-3353, for what's that's worth.  More numbers available here.

UPDATE:  I actually was able to get through, after trying a few times earlier today.  I asked if the Senator had made up his mind about cloture, and the young woman said she "did not have a statement from the Senator."  I said "I know, I don't have a statement from him either, and I emailed him about this over a month ago."  Bottom line?  He's still trying to hide from us.  I said "please tell him we're smart enough to know that if he votes yes on cloture but then votes against the bill on the floor, he's still supporting the bill."  She said she would pass on the message.

Call him if you wish, I honestly don't know if he's even worth the effort.  Michelle Malkin has a list of who might be, here.

I had never heard of "Freegans"

June 22, 2007 10:58 AM

Apparently, they're bums with college degrees, who think being a vegan just isn't good enough.  From The New York Times:

Freegans are scavengers of the developed world, living off consumer waste in an effort to minimize their support of corporations and their impact on the planet, and to distance themselves from what they see as out-of-control consumerism. They forage through supermarket trash and eat the slightly bruised produce or just-expired canned goods that are routinely thrown out, and negotiate gifts of surplus food from sympathetic stores and restaurants.

They organized a dumpster dive at NYU:

Ms. Brewster and her mother, who had come from New Jersey, loaded two area rugs into their cart. Her mother, who declined to give her name, seemed to be on a search for laundry detergent, and was overjoyed to discover a couple of half-empty bottles of Trader Joe’s organic brand. (Free and organic is a double bonus). Nearby, a woman munched on a found bag of Nature’s Promise veggie fries.

What digusting people!  I bet they all smell terrible.  Check out what they do about dental care:

“Once in a while I may buy a box of baking soda for toothpaste,” Mr. Weissman said. “And, sure, getting that to market has negative impacts, like everything.” But, he said, parsing the point, a box of baking soda is more ecologically friendly than a tube of toothpaste, because its cardboard container is biodegradable.

The rest of the article as all about how you have to quit your job and eat food that comes from dumpsters.  And then, you too can live like an animal!  Check out how this raccoon describes the creatures around her dumpster:

“Sometimes people will swoop in and grab something, especially when you see a half-used bottle of Tide detergent,” she said. “Who wouldn’t want it?  But most people realize there’s plenty to go around.” She rooted around in the trash bin and found several half-eaten jars of peanut butter. “It’s a never-ending supply,” she said.

Never-ending supply, indeed.  Wouldn't it be fun to get a bunch of liberals, put them in a gigantic terrarium, and just observe?

92% Say Boot Mitch McConnell from the Senate if he caves on immigration

I know this is just an online poll, but the results are still pretty astounding:

For our Kentucky listeners, Sen. McConnell is on the White House's flip list for the Immigration Bill. If McConnell changes his vote, will his vote affect your vote in 2008?
Yes, Kick him out like Ohio did to Dewine
91.84 %

No, I still support Sen. McConnell

8.16 %

I love how they compare it to kicking him out "like Ohio did to Dewine," too.

Local Republicans Switching to Thompson?

June 21, 2007 11:38 PM

Interesting news from the VikingSpirit blog (one of the best local Republican blogs).  He's been the leading local supporter of Rudy Giuliani's campaign.  And now?

After much deliberation, I'm dropping my support of Rudy Giuliani for Fred Thompson in the Republican Presidential primary. Why you ask? Well, it's somewhat based on ideological reasons, but more based on having a chance at winning the Presidency in 2008 (and, in turn, stopping Hillary Clinton).

Firstly, I believe the political environment is ripe for the base to stay home in 2008. Our party is in open rebellion over the immigration issue, and I don't think base voters will come out to vote for Rudy because he's pro-choice, anti-gun, and pro-gay rights. If the base stays home, we cannot win the election, which leads me to my second reason for supporting Thompson.

He's totally right about the base, which is not enthusiastic about Giuliani at all.  So this is an interesting development.  Giuliani has been the front-runner for some time (which I have always attributed to name recognition, and never understood) but some polls suggest Fred Thompson has pulled ahead.  He's much more in touch with the Republican mainstream.  So welcome back, VikingSpirit!

[I do have to say though, in drafting this post, I see VikingSpirit is working for John Eby's Cincinnati city council campaign.  I voted for John Eby in 2005, but having heard him speak at political events over the last two years, I am not sure he has the ideological qualifications that the job requires.  John Eby is an endorsed Republican, but my impression of him thus far is distinctly unfavorable.  If John Eby wants the party's support he's going to have to do something that suggests he is in line with the party's values.  As yet, we've yet to see that.  If you're involved in his campaign, this should be a big source of concern, VikingSpirit).

Councilman breaks pelvis in pothole incident

From Politics Extra:

Councilman David Crowley broke his pelvis in two places in a bicycle accident Saturday. He was trying to avoid one pothole and hit another.

He expects to be on crutches for a month to six weeks.

"Other than a lot of pain and crutches," he said in a memo to colleagues, "I am fine."

The potholes have been fixed.

Trying to avoid one pothole and hit another.  Typical.  Why not fix the potholes before they cause broken bones?  How's that for a wild idea?

Local Cases of Prosecutorial Misconduct...

...are all over the paper this morning.  First up is Butler County Prosecutor's decision to prosecute the Miami students who got drunk with the girl who died on the railroad tracks:

Three of the accused women - Christine Carr, Kathleen Byrne and Kristina Sicker - have court appearances today on charges of permitting underage consumption at a private place.

Danielle Davis faces the same charge in court July 5. Maureen Grady is to appear June 28 on a charge of furnishing alcohol to an underage person while at an uptown bar.

Like Speidel, the women were themselves too young to drink legally.

How on earth do any of these woman share any more responsibility for this tragedy than the girl who died?

And second up is the Hamilton County Prosecutor's horrific decision to prosecute 16 year-old Chad Metzgar.  He's the kid from Northwest High School who was driving when Lauren Dietz and Miranda Phelps were killed last week.  That community is appalled by Joe Deters' decision:

"Nobody wants to lose anybody anymore in any type of manner," said Jeanne Glore, a close friend of the Dietz family.

Glore called on the community to continue to come together each Wednesday to grieve and bond. The gatherings will also be a sign of solidarity for Metzcar.

Joe Deters wants to have Metzgar tried as an adult, which means if he is convicted, he will be serving hard time in a state prison with the worse of the worst.  He faces 13 1/2 years.  I heard Joe Deters speak about this issue yesterday, and his explanation was basically that they have brought similar charges in similar cases.  What kind of excuse is that?  Where's the introspection about whether the charges in those cases were excessive, too?

One of the fundamental principles of criminal law is that the punishment is supposed to match the mens rea (mental state) of the offending party.  For centuries, criminal law has recognized that accidents happen.  But in Hamilton County, prosecutors have made it a policy to always seek jail time whenever there is a fatal car accident.  This means all of us are always one wrong turn away from a lengthy jail sentence.

It used to be that prosecutors would excercise discretion, and not bring charges when there was an accident.  When I heard Joe Deters speak yesterday, the principle of prosecutorial discretion seemed lost on him.  It's a shame. 

Portman falls flat on Willie's Show

June 20, 2007 11:55 AM

Bill Cunningham just spent half an hour interviewing Rob Portman now that Rob's back in town for a while.  Willie kept telling Rob over and over again how out of touch the administration is and Rob was, well, not getting it.  At all.

I know he has to be polite and not trash his former boss the day after he quit, but Rob's going to have to show he understands the party's anger if he's going to get my support for another office.  The last thing Ohio needs is another bland, dispassionate Republican office holder.

Buh-bye! Michael Bloomberg quits the GOP

June 19, 2007 10:32 PM

Does he think anyone outside NYC and media circles even knows who he is?  Please.  And now he's going to rely on free media and blog chatter to appeal to disgruntled members of the Republican Party so he can make a Presidential run as an Independent.   Again, puhhhleeeze.  We are disgruntled, but it's for the exact opposite reasons why Bloomberg is disgruntled.

And yet now there's going to be all this media garbage about how his run as an Independent could divide the Republican party and throw the election to the Democrats.  I'm not worried about that because I don't know a single Republican who would ever consider voting for Bloomberg for President.  I think he's more likely to divide the Democrats.

He does have a lot of money though.  His own money.  And having your own money doesn't actually translate into votes.  Just ask Steve Forbes.

Oh to be a billionaire with delusions of grandeur!

UPDATE: The other thing that occurs to me this morning is that a Bloomberg candidacy really screws Hillary the most because they're both from New York, and it would force her to spend money and campaign there.  A Democrat really is going to need New York's electoral votes to win in '08.

Dr. McChild-Baker

From the Enquirer:

DEERFIELD TWP. -- A man who drives a yellow Porsche sports car with the vanity license plate, “KEPT GUY,” is accused of leaving two small children locked inside the car on a hot afternoon.

Jeff Betts, 41, was charged with child endangering, authorities said today, following an incident Friday at a hardware store.

He told police that he went inside the Lowe’s store on Mason-Montgomery Road for only a few minutes, a Warren County Sheriff’s report says.

But deputies told him that the car could become dangerously hot rather quickly because of Friday’s temperatures in the 90s.

After attempts to rouse the children with knocks on the window, a deputy broke a window and freed the children. Paramedics examined the two girls, ages 2 and 4, and found they were uninjured.

A police report says Betts is a self-employed physician.

He was arrested at the scene and later released.

Don't the folks at the Enquirer even read themselves?  From John Kiesewetter's Enquirer blog on November 10, 2006...

Are you looking at the real Dr. McDreamy?
Dr. Jeff Betts, a pediatric interventional radiologist at Children's Hospital Medical Center, is one of 10 semifinalists in the "Access Hollwood" contest, "Are You The Real Dr. McDreamy?"
Dr. Betts' two-minute video entry, submitted by a coworker, will air on "Access Hollywood" at 7 p.m. today (Ch. 5). It also will be posted on www.accesshollywood.com after 4:30 p.m. today.
Two contestant videos will be posted and televised today. Viewers will chose one of the two docs, who will advance to the final five late next week.
Voting opens at 4:30 p.m. today, and runs through 1 p.m. Saturday. The winner will be announced on the 7 p.m. Monday show.

Sadly, I can't find the video he his "co-worker" submitted to Access Hollywood.  But still, wouldn't this bit of color enliven the whole "I left my kids to bake in the Porsche" story that the Enquirer ran with today in the online edition?

Perhaps they'll pick up on this before they go to print.

UPDATE:  The Enquirer has updated their story to include my Access Hollywood scoop.  Among the other revelations... the Dr.'s Porsche vanity plate used to say "HUGE EGO," and that was shown in his Access Hollywood video, which apparently also showed him stripping his scrubs to reveal him wearing a speedo.  He left the employ of Children's Hospital a week after the show aired, and now is "self-employed."

Hence there vanity plate revision to "Kept Guy"?

The NRA has a wine club

Finally, a group for people like me.

Governor Stickland speaks to group with terrorist ties

You won't hear about it except from the bloggers, but Ohio Governor Ted Strickland gave a speech this past weekend to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR),  CAIR describes itself as a human rights group, but it's shady, terrorist-loving record has been known for some time.  In fact, just a few weeks ago, CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an alleged criminal conspiracy involving Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.  Hell, even Democratic Senator Chuck Shumer has said: "we know [CAIR] has ties to terrorism."

So why does the Governor think CAIR makes for good company?

HT: Bizzy Blog

Fred Thompson to meet with Thatcher

June 18, 2007 03:43 PM

What an interesting campaign move:

Fred Thompson, the actor and former Tennessee senator who is expected to announce next month he is running for president, flew to London on Monday to meet Margaret Thatcher and deliver a foreign policy speech, his advisers tell The Politico.

Thompson's advisers aim to use the London events to bolster his foreign policy credentials and elevate him above the increasingly contentious fray of the GOP race.

On Wednesday, he will pose for photos with Thatcher, which his advisers hope will enhance his support among devotees of former President Ronald Reagan.

This will send conservative opinion makers into fits of ecstasy.  Very smart idea, Thompson campaign.

"Mommy's in the rug"... Nightmare in Stark County

From the Akron Beacon Journal:

While his grandmother speaks to yet another reporter, little Blake takes aim at his coloring book.

As he scribbles, the 2-year-old reminds everyone his mommy remains missing.

And at times, he has continued to repeat the startling words that his grandmother Patty Porter heard when she came looking for her daughter Friday morning.

``Mommy's in the rug,'' Blake says.

He was also saying "Mommy was crying,'' and "Mommy broke the table."  The grandmother found the two-year old "soiled, thirsty and hungry."  His mother, who was nine months pregnant, hasn't been seen since Wednesday.  Things do not sound good:

Stark County sheriff's detectives have classified Davis as a missing person. But the signs inside her home are ominous. A large red and gold comforter and white sheet are missing from her bedroom, where parts of a gallon jug of bleach was poured over the floor. A back sliding glass patio door was unlocked, but there was no sign of a forced entry.

Sheriff's detectives are questioning the boy's father, who had an "on again off again" relationship with the mother.  The father is a Canton police officer.  The father's wife--who is not the mother of the two-year old or the unborn baby--has also been interviewed by the detectives.

"It was liberalism gone mad." The New York Times has a shockingly frank obituary for Antioch

Michael Goldfarb was a freshman at Antioch in 1968.  He writes:

With a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the college increased African-American enrollment to 25 percent in 1968, from virtually nil in previous years. The new students were recruited from the inner city. At around the same time, Antioch created coeducational residence halls, with no adult supervision. Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll became the rule, as you might imagine, and there was enormous peer pressure to be involved in all of them. No member of the faculty or administration, and certainly none of the students, could guess what these sudden changes would mean. They were simply embraced in the spirit of the time.

I moved into this sociological petri dish from a well-to-do suburb. Within my first week I twice had guns drawn on me, once in fun and once in a state of drunken for real by a couple of ex-cons whom one of my classmates, in the interest of breaking down class barriers, had invited to live with her....

Each semester, the college seemed to create a new program. “We need to take education to the people” became a mantra, and so satellite campuses began to sprout around the country. Something called Antioch University was created, and every faculty member whose marriage was going bad or who simply couldn’t hack living in a village of 3,000 people and longed for the city came up with a proposal to start a new campus.

“It was liberalism gone mad,” a former professor, Hannah Goldberg, once told me, and she was right. The college seemed to forget the pragmatism that had been a key to its ethos, and tried blindly to extend its mission beyond education to social reform. But there were too many new programs and too little cash reserve to deal with the inevitable growing pains.

For the increasingly vocal radical members of the community, change wasn’t going far enough or fast enough. They wanted revolution, but out there in the middle of the cornfields the only “bourgeois” thing to fight was Antioch College itself. The let’s-try-anything, free-thinking society of 1968 evolved into a catastrophic blend of legitimate paranoia (Nixon did keep enemies lists, and the F.B.I. did infiltrate campuses) and postadolescent melodrama. In 1973, a strike trashed the campus and effectively destroyed Antioch’s spirit of community. The next year, student enrollment was down by half....

Antioch College became a rump where the most illiberal trends in education became entrenched. Since it is always easier to impose a conformist ethos on a small group than a large one, as the student body dwindled, free expression and freedom of thought were crushed under the weight of ultraliberal orthodoxy. By the 1990s the breadth of challenging ideas a student might encounter at Antioch had narrowed, and the college became a place not for education, but for indoctrination. Everyone was on the same page, a little to the left of The Nation in worldview....

Scathing.  Read the whole thing.

Liberalism is Contagious--John Edwards Wipes Snot on his Fans

Fill in the Blanks: What Should the Next Administration Look Like?

June 15, 2007 02:32 PM

President: ______________________

Vice President: Rudy Giuliani

Secretary of State: _______________

Attorney General: Laura Ingraham

Treasury Secretary: Larry Kudlow

Labor: ___________________________

Health & Human Services: _________

Veterans' Affairs: Oliver North

Energy: ___________________________

Education: N/A, Department Abolished

Transportation: Whoever runs Southwest Airlines

Sherrod Brown: Illegal immigration is the fault of free trade

His office emails me after I emailed them in opposition to the amnesty bill.  He writes:

Unless we fix the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and enforce our own labor laws, we will continue to debate how high the fence should be and how many agents should guard our border with no real solution in sight. In 1994, the U.S. signed NAFTA, which promised, among other things, to help create a thriving middle class in Mexico. At that time there were 3 million undocumented workers in the U.S.; today there are more than 11 million. In Mexico, 9 million more live in poverty than when NAFTA was enacted. NAFTA has failed the U.S. and Mexico. By creating an atmosphere where Mexican citizens feel they have no chance of a successful life in Mexico, these ill-conceived trade agreements increase the number of illegal immigrants coming into our country.

But remember when NAFTA was passed and the complaint against it from liberal Democrats like Sherrod Brown was that it would send American jobs south of the border?

Meanwhile, it has now been nearly a month since I emailed Voinovich about the immigration bill, and I've yet to hear anything back.  Of course that's not just me.  He's refused to make a statement to ANYONE explaining what his position on the immigration bill is.

To mail or not to mail?

I just re-opened the envelope containing the check for the chiropractor's bill.  On the enclosure, I had written:

If you guys want people to pay your bills without complaining, you have got to get a better billing system.  If you're not embarrassed by how unprofessional this looks, you should be.  Neither this nor the last bill I recieved shows clearly what the charge for services was, what was adjusted by insurance payments, and why the balance is what it is.

No, I hadn't watered that down with any meaningless "Dear Dr. so-and-so" tripe, or any "I feel much better!" crap.  Because it is true, that invoice was ridiculously confusing.  But should I actually send what I've written as is, or should I just send it to Passive Aggressive Notes?  [Yes, there is a blog devoted solely to the glorification of passive aggressive notes.]

I try not to be obnoxious, but how will people know what they are doing wrong if they're not told?

Rule Americana

Check out this fascinating map of the U.S., which renames the 50 states for other countries with equivalent GDPs.  Ohio is Australia, California is France, Tennessee is Saudi Arabia (sorry Tennessee), Michigan is Argentina, Texas is Canada, etc., etc.

Notably missing are Japan, Britain and Russia--presumably their GDPs are higher than any of the 50 states.  But we swallow pretty much the rest of the world.

UPDATE: Also China, India.

$54 Mill Pants Trial Wraps, Judge to Rule Next Week

June 13, 2007 05:29 PM

This is the one I wrote about earlier.  Thankfully, someone has been liveblogging it.  Here's the scoop from today's cross-examination of the Plaintiff:

At noon precisely on Day Two of the $54 million pants case, we saw The Pants. Defense attorney Christopher Manning unveiled the suit trousers that Roy Pearson says are not his and that the owners of Custom Cleaners say are indeed the ones that Pearson submitted for a $10.50 alteration back in 2005.

The dramatic moment in Courtroom 415 at D.C. Superior Court revealed that yes, the pants look like they are part of a suit, and yes, the dry cleaners attached to these pants a tag with the same numbers that appeared on the receipt Pearson got for his suit. But Pearson still denies these are his pants, and still demands $54 million, though he has not yet wept today...

Courtroom Drama!  He did weep yesterday, and needed a break to regain his composure.

But like most trials, this one is really about the boring details:

[Judge] Bartnoff has handled Pearson with a disarming and delightful mix of humor and stern direction. Sometimes incredulous, sometimes gently joshing, she has repeatedly lured Pearson out of his tendency to go off on long, incomprehensible recitations about the minutia of the District's consumer protection law. But Bartnoff has been careful to let Pearson state his odd notions of law with few limitations.

This is known as giving someone all the rope they need to hang themselves.

"Your position," Bartnoff said to Pearson this morning, "is that 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' means they have to satisfy whatever you demand, with no limitations, absolutely unconditionally?"

"That's correct," Pearson replied.

"I have grave doubts about that," said the judge.

This means he's nutty enough to appeal, that Judge Bartnoff knows this, and that she's making sure the record is immaculate before she thwaps him, so her judgment will be affirmed.  Good judge. 

This was not on the menu the last time I ate at the Cheesecake Factory

From Craigslist:

Cheesecake Factory Fireworks- Allison, Andrea, Amy...?.. - m4w - 24


The way our eyes met outside of the restrooms was so electric, I just had to say something…and was so glad that I did! We laughed about love at first sight, but now I do believe it. The way we felt so comfortable with one another was wonderfully eerie. Thank you so much for the wonderful afternoon/evening- BBQ, Sopranos, and the mind blowing monkey sex… The problem is as you left my room this morning, I realized that we never exchanged numbers (and that you have stolen my favorite Sponge Bob Squarepants boxers- Bitch... oh, but I could never stay mad at you!). All that I do know is that your name begins with an ‘A’, you drive a Nissan Sentra, you speak sweetly- arousing butterflies in my stomach with a wonderful southern accent, and I think I love you.

  • Location: Cheesecake Factory- Kenwood
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Allison, Andrea, Amy... if you're reading this, someone is looking for you.  And their Sponge Bob Squarepants boxers.

More snark about Antioch...

...is available at the mildly amusing but hideously illegible blog It's a Paul World.

HT: Columbuser

And now Voinovich comes out in favor of the D.C. "voting rights" bill

From National Review's Bench Memos blog:

Via e-mail (nothing yet on his website), Senator George Voinovich's office has released a statement declaring the Ohio Republican's support for the D.C. "voting rights" bill, which would give the District of Columbia a seat in the House of Representatives (but none in the Senate), and an additional House seat to Utah as well.  Voinovich is ranking member of the Senate subcommittee with D.C. affairs in its portfolio, so I suppose this announcement is intended to make some waves—though I haven't noticed that the senator ordinarily carries many other Republicans along in his wake.

Voinovich acknowledges that opposition to the bill on constitutional grounds shouldn't be "dismiss[ed] . . . without serious study," but his statement provides nothing more than his unexplained conclusion that "the District Clause grants Congress the ability" to pass this bill.  He's referring to Article I, section 8, clause 17, which provides Congress power to "exervcise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever" over the District where the nation's capital is located.

For a detailed explaination of why this is patently unconstitutional, read Bench Memos, which does not even bother to mention the politically obvious reason for opposing this bill: It gives the Democrats one "free" seat in Congress.  This is on top of Voinovich's asinine statement on Monday about Alberto Gonzales (i.e. the President should fire him, but the Senate shouldn't say so).

And he still hasn't issued a statement explaining what his position on immigration actually is, even though at the end of the day he ended up supporting the President's awful bill.

Does Voinovich have anything going for him?

Paglia on the Democrats, Gore and Young Hollywood

Camille Paglia is out with another profoundly insightful essay on American culture and politics.  After watching the Democratic debates, she suggests that her party may be in trouble:

Despite numerous polls claiming that registered Democrats like myself are happy with their current field of presidential contenders, the Gore boomlet betrays subterranean tremors of doubt. After two major televised debates by both parties, only a Pollyanna on helium would believe that any of the top-tier Democrats will definitely be able to defeat a leading Republican like Mitt Romney or Rudy Giuliani.

But, she explains, Gore is not the answer:

As a global warming agnostic, I dislike the way that Gore's preachy, apocalyptic fundamentalism has fomented an atmosphere of hysteria around this issue and potentially compromised the long-term credibility of environmentalism. Democrats who long for his return as the anti-Hillary may not realize how Gore has become a risible cartoon character for much of the country at large. Anyone who listens to talk radio has been repeatedly regaled by clips of Gore bizarrely going off the deep end at one speech or another. And Gore, far worse than Hillary, is the Phantom of a Thousand Accents -- telegraphing his supercilious condescension to whatever audience he's trying to manipulate.

And her armchair psyschological quarterbacking of young Hollywood is dead on:

What links the Lohan and Hilton cases is the weird behavior of the parents -- either flaky and dysfunctional or overbearing and coddling. The Lohan and Hilton mothers seem to reject aging by trying to keep their daughters in developmental limbo. Paris in particular seems to have become a psychic prisoner, turned into a flash-frozen marzipan doll by her belligerently benevolent mom. Neither family is typical, of course, but are the Hiltons exposing an unhealthy symbiosis in recent American family life? Adulthood keeps getting postponed for white middle-class girls, who even after they arrive at college are obsessively linked by umbilical cellphones to their hovering parents, who want to shield their progeny from all of life's nicks and scrapes.

Camille Paglia is the only reason Salon is worth reading.

Antioch College to Close; Students Don't Want to Attend Hippie School

June 12, 2007 06:42 PM

Kids these days!  They don't want to be like these winners:

They probably want jobs after college, those crazy scamps.  Selfish pigs!  From the college's news release:

Over the past several years, Antioch College has experienced a continuing decline in its student enrollment. Given its small endowment and heavy dependence on tuition revenue, this low enrollment has threatened the College’s survival. Efforts to balance the College’s budget over the years through faculty and staff reductions, programmatic changes and deferred maintenance of the physical plant have eroded the confidence students and parents have in the College’s academic program. After careful analysis the Board determined that the College’s resources are inadequate to continue providing a quality education for its students beyond July 1, 2008.

I'd suggest to them there is a lesson here about how the free market works, but I'm not sure they'd grasp the concept.

They do claim they're going to re-open with a "state of the art" campus in 2012, though.  What kind of college thinks they can close for four years and re-open?  Where are they going to get the money for a "state of the art" campus if they haven't been able to shake down their alumni to keep the doors open?  What if you were currently a student there, wouldn't you be livid?  Or would you just go smoke some grass and accept it?

UPDATE: Lori Kurtzman for the Enquirer has more scoop.  Like this anecdote about alum Steve Duffy:

When Steve Duffy was a high school student in the 1970s, his history teacher told him one of the most utopian places on the planet was in Yellow Springs, Ohio, at a college called Antioch.

Duffy, a New Yorker, liked the sound of that. He enrolled at Antioch without ever visiting the campus, left for Ohio and arrived at a school that was everything his teacher had promised – brimming with brilliant students hoping to change the world. Duffy grew so enamored of the college that he is still there, three decades later, helping to run the library.

He's "helping run the library?"  I thought this was where students went to "change the world."  It's 30 years later, Steve, and you're "helping" run the library at a school no one wants to go to.  Is it time to reflect on what you've done to "change the world?"  Because I'm thinking 30 years has resulted in a whole lot of nuthin'.

SW Ohioans 4 Fred (Thompson)

I learned over lunch that a friend of mine is behind the website SW Ohioans 4 Fred.  It's the blog "for Fred Heads primarily in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton & Warren Counties- the counties that decided the 2004 election."  Great point about how this area decided the 2004 election.  People have already forgotten that. 

As for me, I have not yet decided if I'm 4 Fred.  But I'm sure I'll be reading SW Ohioans 4 Fred as I come to a decision, and you should be too.

Wright-Patt Attempted to Develop "Gay Bomb" in the '90s

A Freedom of Information Act request to Wright-Patt shows that in the early '90s, the Air Force was considering how to develop a chemical weapon that would turn the enemy gay:

As part of a military effort to develop non-lethal weapons, the proposal suggested, "One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior."

The documents show the Air Force lab asked for $7.5 million to develop such a chemical weapon.

"The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soldiers to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistibly attractive to one another," Hammond said after reviewing the documents.

A Department of Defense official said on Friday that the idea was quickly dismissed.  Apparently, they also considered spraying the enemy with bee pheromones and hiding bee hives behind enemy lines

Seriously.  This kind of creativity would not be necessary if liberals didn't get so exercised about us taking care of the enemy the old-fashioned way.

"Confidence has always been sort... like a difficult thing for me"

June 11, 2007 08:28 PM

HT: Jackie Danicki

What I was not doing this weekend... participating in the World Naked Bike Ride!

Of course, it's a protest against global warming:

The naked cyclists - and others with strategically-placed body paint, sticky tape or bum bags - were highlighting the damage caused by car dependency.

Here I am, 33 years old, and I've never even heard of a bum bag. 

One of the participants explains the larger point of the World Naked Bike Ride:

He said: "We are seeing an increasing number of stories of melting ice caps and Antarctica crumbling away and no government is doing anything serious about this.

"They are paying lip service to the problem so people have been taking to their bikes, unclothing, to express their feelings about it."

Never talk about paying lip service to a problem when you're bike riding naked.

Want pictures?  Of course you do!

 Photo

That's the World Naked Cyclists in Mexico City.  Hope these Mexicans don't want amnesty here, too!

Here they are in Vancouver:

Photo

Awww, too bad it rained!  Good weather in London, though:

Photo

A perfect day for a naked bike ride!  And, now everybody believes in global warming!

Previously: "It's spectacular!"

Paris on the phone with Baba Wawa

Paris's mom was on the phone with Barbara Walters when Paris called in from jail.  And Paris ends up on the phone with Barbara Walters.  That doesn't sound like a p.r. stunt at all!

Paris tells Baba:

I used to act dumb," she told Walters in the exclusive phone conversation. "That act is no longer cute.  Now, I would like to make a difference. ... God has given me this new chance."

Get that?  "God has given me a new chance."  I'm with Ann Althouse:

"I just hope this making a difference business doesn't involve adopting children or letting us know what's wrong with the government."

But chances of that are pretty good, aren't they?  Are we ready for Paris as the moral arbiter?

Homeschooling and socialization. No E-V-I-D-E-N-C-E there's a problem

June 8, 2007 09:44 AM


Spellingbee jerk - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Manners... it's not how you behave, but why

From Giles Fraser:

What is needed today is a reformation of manners, a concerted effort to re-think our p’s and q’s, so that they are founded on respect for others rather than on a self-interested expression of social class.

As the wise and kindly Henry Higgins put it in Pygmalion: “The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.”

At their best, manners are the training and practice of loving your neighbour as yourself. They take this fundamental principle, and cut it up into millions of minute social interactions: “Please,” “Thank you,” “Would you like this seat?” “Is my music too loud?” and so on.

HT: Stand Firm

Hard to believe ANYONE could find this offensive... Shirley Q. Liquor on the Twelve Days of Kwanzaa

June 7, 2007 11:37 PM

Senate Kills Immigration Bill...

...let the record reflect that in the final vote, Senator Voinovich came down on the wrong side.

Is anyone surprised?

Other Republicans on the list of shame?  Senators McCain, Hagel, Graham, Lugar, Specter and Martinez.

That Monster Hog Was No Wild Hog

We're talking about the one we posted about, here.  It turns out it was a farm raised pig named Fred.  And it was killed in a fenced-in area.

And now Voinovich flips back the other way on immigration

He has voted against enforcing existing border security laws.  Does he have multiple personality disorder, or what?

Voinvovich Flips on Immigration?

Is it a flip, or is it a flop?  So yesterday Senator Voinvoich voted against killing the bill.  But today, he's voted to limit the "guest worker program" to 5 years--which is being construed as a vote to kill the bill.

The latest roll is is here.  If the Senator would just say whether he supports the bill or not, this would be a lot easier.  Surely a plain statement that that summarizes his position is the least he owes his constituents?

UPDATE:  Sean Hannity is on Laura Ingraham's show, and they are both pleased as punch with this morning's developments.  Is this Harriet Miers II?

"Any charitable organization involved in $10 million in litigation has some explaining to do to the public."

Attorney General Marc Dann threatens to intervene in the Health Alliance legal smackdown:

"We could seek to put everybody in receivership," he said. In that case, the court would appoint an officer to manage all daily operations of the organization.

Few people realize it, but the AG has pretty extraordinary authority over charitable organizations in the State of Ohio.  Of course these hospitals aren't really functioning as charities.  Perhaps the AG is sensing that is the problem?

Conservatives attempt to kill immigration bill; Voinovich votes with the Democrats

June 6, 2007 02:10 PM

... and with the President, who seems to have suffered a break with reality on this.  The specific issue was whether they should give amnesty to illegal immigrants who have felony records.  Voinovich says the felons should be allowed to stay.  The roll call is here.

Other Republican Senators in the Hall of Shame: Lindsey Graham, Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Dick Lugar, Larry Craig, John Kyl, and Mel Martinez.

But Voinovich is the one who is Ohio's fault.

Butler County Republicans Select Democrat for County Commission

From the Enquirer:

FAIRFIELD - Developer and former Democrat Don Dixon swept his competition Tuesday night, getting 58.2 percent of the Butler County Republican party vote in a three-way race for Butler County Commission....

Dixon switched parties in 2000 for what he called philosophical reasons. Before the switch, he was the county Democratic Party chairman and a prominent financial contributor to that party. The Dixon family operates Hillandale Communities, which specializes in retirement centers

Yeah, philosophical reasons such as "no one else in Butler County is a Democrat anymore."  This shows what too many years of one party rule leads to... careerism, and the promotion of leaders who do not have sufficient ideological grounding to qualify them for the job.  Six years is no where near enough of a ripening period, and the Butler County GOP should have known better.  Sadly, they will reap what they sow.

Over at Weapons of Mass Discussion, Matt Hurley is not happy.  He asks:

Here's hoping Dixon really is a Republican... Am I crazy or has the Butler County GOP been taken over by Country Club Republicans?

Not County Club Republicans, Matt.  Just plain fools.

I will never get used to the notion...

June 5, 2007 12:15 PM

...that it is ever appropriate to write to a judge to urge leniency in sentencing.  Seems like an anathema to the principle of equal justice under law, if you ask me.

Why should it matter who knows the defendant, or even who loves him?

Paris Hilton issues statement upon entering jail

She says: "In the future, I plan on taking more of an active role in the decisions I make."

She's a smart one, that girl.

Good Times: Jerry Springer's "I paid her with a check" spot from the 1980 campaign

Jerry Springer for Governor - kewego
Jerry Springer for Governor - kewego
Jerry Springer for Governor - kewego
In this campaign ad from 1980, Jerry Springer admitted he has slept with a hooker and paid her by check.
HT: Llama Butchers

Tabloid Love

How does this happen?  JonBenet Ramsey's dad and Natalie Holloway's mom are dating.

All in the Family

June 4, 2007 04:04 PM

Captain Yips explains the Episcopal Church's role in the Anglican Communion:

TEC is the Anglican Communion’s crazy Aunt Melinda, the aging hippy who comes to family reunions in a floaty tie-dyed mumu, carrying an immense, daisy-appliqued straw handbag.  In that bag she has a ziploc of grass and a S & W Model 10 (“for when the pigs come for me”), asks everyone if they want a toke, and then talks loudly about her sex life in explicit detail.  Melinda, though, is rich with money left by generations, and money has bought her tolerance - up to a point.  Recently, some members of the family have wondered if she’s past it, have begun refusing to come to parties and events if she shows up, and some are even muttering that maybe Melinda needs a trustee. 

It's a pretty apt description.  If you want further evidence, go here (page 9), and read about the Episcopal Priest in the Diocese of Olympia who is also a practicing Muslim.

A little more than a year ago, the Rev. Dr. Ann Holmes Redding found herself at the doorway of a new world, Islam, and wasn’t quite sure how she got there. As she reflected on her journey, she realized Jesus was her guide. Now both a practicing Muslim and an Episcopal priest, Redding shares her thoughts on how the two faiths inform each other.

“The way I understand Jesus is compatible with Islam,” Redding explains, “and although there are Christians and Muslims who think I must convert from one to the other, the more I go down this path the more excited I am about both Christianity and Islam.”

Did we mention that Aunt Melinda is bi-polar, too?

This week in "Up Against the Wall"

We have the kids--and their parents--who book private jets to get to summer camp.  From The New York Post:

The charter company Revolution Air has assigned more than 20 private jets to fly children to summer camp at the end of June, at a cost of about $8,000 a flight.

HOW.  UN.  NECESSARY.

And we're not talking about long trips, either:

Property developer and mother of three Robin O'Hara is sending her 8-year-old, Danielle, on a 30-minute flight to Lake Bryn Mawr Camp in Honesdale, Pa.

"The bus takes 31/2 hours. It is crowded, and it's always a very dramatic scene," said O'Hara, of Great Neck, L.I.

"This year, she is not going with her [older] sisters, so we want to make it a special, unique experience for her.

"It's a trend. A lot of my friends do it," O'Hara said. "They play videos, they serve kids' food, sometimes, we'll have a manicurist on board."

Read it and weep.

Ask, and ye shall receive... from Laura Ingraham

June 1, 2007 10:11 AM

On last Friday's drive up to Michigan, I caught Laura Ingraham's radio show.  She was taking calls from veterans and military families, and I was so moved by this call from Barb in Annapolis, Maryland.  Her son reenlisted with the Marines on Friday.  I emailed Laura and asked for the clip.  Give it a listen.

Download file

I just think she's awesome.

Crazy. C-R-A-Z-Y. Crazy.

So last night was the big finals of the national Spelling Bee.  And it drew protesters:

Yes, they're serious.  They're from the Simplified Spelling Society!  They explain their aims thusly:

One of the picketers, ALC chair and SSS member, Alan Mole, from Boulder, Colorado, puts it this way: "Our odd spelling retains words like cough, bough, through and though. This increases illiteracy and crime. Fix it and you fix a host of problems. We want to fix it."

Get that folks?  It's the spelling that increases illiteracy and crime.  Spelling must be stopped!