Saturday, July 30, 2005

New Gitmo "Interrogation" Technique

Atrios points to this, which we believe would be quite effective at getting ANYONE to talk.

But what made us have a silly attack was a comment from an Eschaton reader. We're still chuckling.

This is a serious silly attack. Go. Watch. Read.

Stepford Republican

That's how some are referring to Jean Schmidt, who is running for office in the Ohio 2nd congressional district. I've discussed the Democratic candidate, Paul Hackett, and the smear campaign the GOP tried running against him. Now let's take a closer look at Ms. Schmidt.

Schmidt appeared on MSNBC's Hardball last night. Crooks and Liars has the video. Based on this interview and other reports [here and here], it is quite clear that Jean Schmidt, if elected, would be a mere puppet for the Bush administration. She repeats the RNC talking points exactly as prepared. It's also obvious she's never met a cliche she didn't like:

"The best defense is a good offense," is what she'd tell President Bush about the war.

"I support the president in his mission to make sure the enemies of freedom stay on their shores and not on ours." (Wonder if "their shores" includes London and Madrid?)

"We have to keep our eye on the ball or the ball will come back to harm us."

"The seeds of democracy have been planted. Democracy is on the march."

"We must stay the course."

I especially like her explanation of the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction. Schmidt says we thought there were WMD's in Iraq because "a thug" told us they were there. The thug in question being Saddam Hussein, who also prevented weapons inspectors from ever looking for, finding and destroying said weapons. Damn the facts! Full talking points ahead!

When asked about the war in Iraq Schmidt says she would tell Bush and Rumsfeld to listen to the "guys on the ground." Of course, Hackett's views on the war are not valid even though he was one of those guys on the ground. Schmidt seems to think that because Hackett served in the military he abandoned his community, which isn't really all that concerned about Iraq.

"Everything’s local. Of course, it’s more important here. The issues that the people have are more important to those individuals than anything outside of that region."

Of course, Schmidt was quick to point out that she'd just attended a memorial service for a soldier killed in Iraq. Makes you think she went to the funeral, right? Nope. She attended an event at the "track" where a plaque was dedicated to the solider by the Owensville fire department. Big difference.

Schmidt is having some problems with her campaign. The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) has launched a radio campaign urging Republicans, conservatives and advocates of limited government to stay home on Tuesday. They call Schmidt a liar regarding her advocacy of lowering taxes and limiting government and caution voters not to vote for Jean Schmidt.

Schmidt says she is confident her conservative base will carry the election for her. But that base may not be happy with her campaign manager, who seems to enjoy whipping people. With a single-tail whip. In his basement. Really.

America can do better than George W. Bush and Stepford Republican Jean Schmidt.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bush Makes Boy Scouts Sick

That's the headline I'd like to see with this story about 300 people sickened by the heat Wednesday while waiting for President Bush to arrive at a memorial service.

Here's the story:

The Boy Scouts marched onto the field singing, plopping down in the grass to wait for President Bush. But hours later, the news that Bush couldn't make it was drowned out by sirens and shouts as hundreds fell ill because of the blistering heat.

About 300 people, most of them Scouts, suffered from dehydration, fatigue and lightheadedness Wednesday — just days after four Scout leaders were killed at the national Jamboree while pitching a tent beneath a power line.

Temperatures at Fort A.P. Hill, an Army base where the 10-day event is being held, reached the upper 90s and were intensified by high humidity.


The more than 40,000 Scouts, volunteers, and leaders attending the event had been standing in the sun about three hours when word came that severe thunderstorms and high winds were forcing the president to postpone his appearance until Thursday. Bush's spokesman said Thursday that the visit would instead happen Sunday, at the Scouts' request.


At the last jamboree four years ago, Bush's trip was also canceled because of bad weather, in which lightning strikes caused minor injuries to two Scouts. He spoke to the group a day later by videotape.

It's interesting that Dubya was able to go pimp for CAFTA since the trip to the memorial service was called off due to [cough] "severe thunderstorms and high winds".

But what really gets my goat is the fact that Dubya was willing to attend a memorial service for four Scout leaders who died pitching a tent (improperly), but he has yet to attend the funeral for a single soldier killed in Afghanistan or Iraq.

America can do better than George W. Bush.

More on Hackett

Yes, I know Paul Hackett isn't running for anything in this area. Still, the more I read about him the more I like.

Reuters ran a story about the race on Thursday in which Hackett spells out why Dubya is so wrong about the war in Iraq:

Hackett has criticized Bush's decision to invade Iraq and backs intensified training for Iraqi security forces by pairing them with U.S. troops. He condemns Bush's failure to ask Americans at home to share the burdens of war, complaining about politicians who "use the war to wrap themselves in the American flag."

"You can't fight three wars, support the troops and have a tax cut. It's irrational," he said in an interview, calling the administration's approach "patriotism light." Prolonged engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans have strained the economy and military, he said, and "the only people sacrificing are the ones over there."

On the campaign trail, Hackett highlights the seven months he spent as a civil affairs officer in Iraq and the unique perspective it would give him in Congress.

"Anybody who served in Iraq has a better view of what's going on over there than a politician in Washington," said Hackett, a lawyer whose only previous political office was a stint on a city council.

But Schmidt, who sticks close to most of Bush's political positions and reminds audiences of her conservative views on hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage, said in an interview Hackett's experience in Iraq does not make him uniquely qualified to discuss the war.

"I don't believe it's a viable perspective, I've heard from many people who served in Iraq who have a totally different view," she said. "I stand with the president."

Now if we could get someone with Hackett's attitude to run against Roy Blunt we might just have a ballgame next year. Are you listening, Jim Kreider?

This is NOT Journalism

The so-called liberal news media are slowly giving up any resemblance to journalism. Republicans are taking advantage of this new modus operandi.

Apparently, if you give exclusive stories to [certain members of organizations purporting to be news operations] with the condition that no Democrats are to be allowed to comment on the story, so-called journalists think that's a perfectly acceptable thing to do. They won't even bother to do any additional research for the story.

The Washington Post did this recently with an article presenting Dubya's arguments for withholding documents written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. during his tenure as the Justice Department's deputy solicitor general under Daddy Bush.

Now comes a report of Roll Call doing something similar for an article about a GOP ad targeting West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.

How anyone can seriously believe the "news" media are liberally biased is beyond me. This isn't journalism. It's propaganda. And yes, I'd call it the same thing if the Democrats were the ones demanding no others sources be consulted. In fact, I don't fault the GOP for making the request. No reporter or editor should ever agree to such nonsense.

Friday Beagle Blogging, Hold Me Edition

Baxter is tired of the mean ol' Repuglicans and wants a hug.

Chickenhawks Stoop to New Level

There's a special election coming up in Ohio's second congressional district, a Republican stronghold. The Democratic challenger has the GOP worried, so they've decided to "bury him." (very long post)

Paul Hackett is the Democrat's candidate in an August 2 special election to replace the former congressman who recently became President Bush’s trade representative. Hackett is a Marine reservist who returned from Iraq in March.

Hackett says he disagreed with the war in Iraq, calling it “a diversion from the real war on terror.” Still, he volunteered for service and had to get an age waiver to be readmitted. Hackett says he went to Iraq because “I saw Americans were over there dying, and I felt that I had an obligation to go help.”

Hackett’s GOP opponent, former state Representative Jean Schmidt, has been snared in a scandal. On July 8, The Columbus Dispatch reported that Schmidt improperly failed to disclose that a biotech lobbyist treated her last fall to a lavish dinner and skybox seats at a Cincinnati Bengals game.

The corrupt Ohio Republicans are giving Hackett the Swift Boat treatment. Hackett has been running a television ad which begins with an excerpt from Dubya's June 28th speech at Ft. Bragg in which he says "there is no higher calling than service in our armed forces." Hackett's voice comes on saying "I agreed with that, and that's what led me to serve and fight with my Marine's in Iraq. Watch the ad here.

An advisor to Jean Schmidt's campaign, Eric Minamyer, has questioned Hackett's claim in that TV commercial that he "fought" with Marines in Iraq. Minamyer says Hackett may be overstating his service, that Hackett may be exaggerating. Minamyer questions whether Hackett actually saw combat, or commanded any troops. Evidently, stating in a TV commercial that you "fight with my Marine's" means you're claiming you commanded troops in combat. You know, like being shot at and stuff. It's no longer enough to volunteer for military duty, go to the war zone where there are very few, if any, "safe" locations. That's not being patriotic enough, at least for the GOP.

But Hackett didn’t just volunteer to go to Iraq, he volunteered to go to Fallujah. And he did see combat. And he did command troops.

In an interview aired on Cincinnati TV station WKRC, Hackett stated that he was in command of a convoy on October 21, 2004 that was attacked by two IEDs (impovised explosive devices). He shows a picture of the convoy marines taken after the attack. Um, doesn't that count as combat?

DavidNYC at DailyKos reminds us:

ELEVEN members of various civil affairs units have given their lives serving overseas in the Iraqi theater. One was just 19 years old. With his words, Eric Minamyer shamefully denigrates the sacrifices all these civil affairs soldiers and marines made.

The entire COUNTRY is a warzone. These civil affairs men and women put themselves at risk just by going over there - IEDs do not discriminate, nor do insurgents, nor does disease.

Whether you drove a truck down the airport road to Baghdad or led the Iraqi equivalent of the charge over Bunker Hill, as far as I'm concerned, you've faced combat. This is fourth generation war, not chessmen at Agincourt. Paul Hackett and his men faced violent death every day. Hell, he served in Fallujah. Would you like to visit Fallujah? Just asking.

But Minamyer's questions were just the beginning. Scott Sloan, a conservaitve radio host on WLW 700 AM in Cincinnati, went off on a rant about the "real" level Hackett's patriotism, claiming Hackett was using his service for "political purposes." Several Republicans have called into talk radio saying things like, "Paul wasn't really a Marine Corps Major in Iraq."

A Cincinnati television reporter asked Hackett if "this was all a plan on your part. To go to Iraq and come back with this great story while running for congress."

A few days ago, an Amry Private First Class was burried in Fairfield, Ohio. Within 24 hours, a number of flags were burned and tossed into a pile infront of his mother and father-in law's home. Scott Sloan attempted to tie Hackett to the flag burning incident, saying that it was "people like Paul Hackett" that allow things like this to happen.

This is the gratitude Hackett gets for fighting Dubya's war. It clearly displays the contempt NeoCons have for those who do put on the uniform and risk their lives in a war based on lies.

Hackett's opponent thinks the way to support the troops is to "stand with the president." Hackett has told her to buzz off:

Schmidt commends Hackett for his service, but believes Hackett should "stand with the president" by "supporting the Iraqi war effort and our troops that are over there," her campaign manager Joe Braun said. (Through Braun, Schmidt declined to speak with Salon.) When asked to answer that charge, Hackett is blunt: "The only way I know how to support the troops is by going over there." He doesn't hesitate to criticize Schmidt's support of the war: "All the chicken hawks back here who said, 'Oh, Iraq is talking bad about us. They're going to threaten us' -- look, if you really believe that, you leave your wife and three kids and go sign up for the Army or Marines and go over there and fight. Otherwise, shut your mouth."

She has also stated that she believes serving here in the U.S. in political office is more important than serving in the military:
NOVOTNY: His opponent, Republican frontrunner Jean Schmidt, a former state representative who is not convinced that time served in battle can compare to experience at home.

JEAN SCHMIDT, OHIO REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Everything’s local. Of course, it’s more important here. The issues that the people have are more important to those individuals than anything outside of that region.

The RNC has gotten into the "swift boat" attack, demanding Hackett cease and desist running his "deceptive" ad:
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett called on the Democratic candidate in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District special election to immediately remove a misleading television ad that falsely implies the endorsement of President Bush.

“Just a few weeks ago, Paul Hackett was calling President Bush the biggest threat to America,” Bennett said. “Now he’s trying to pull a fast one on the voters by linking himself to the President and exploiting the President’s popularity in the 2nd District. This ad is a blatant attempt to dupe voters into thinking Paul Hackett is a Republican endorsed by President Bush.”

A letter from Republican National Committee Chief Legal Counsel Tom Josefiak was hand-delivered to the Hackett for Congress campaign late Wednesday evening, asking the campaign to immediately cease and desist airing the ad which features a video and audio clip of President Bush.

Watch the ad here and decide if you think it is deceptive.

And just when I thought the Chickenhawks couldn't stoop any lower, they prove me wrong. Paul Hackett says he'd put his life on the line for Bush. In response, the NRCC "decided to bury him."
What prompted the committee's entry into the Schmidt-Hackett race was a comment made by Hackett in a USA Today article published Thursday. Hackett, talking about his service as a marine in Iraq, is quoted as saying, "I've said I don't like the son-of-a-b--- that lives in the White House. But I'd put my life on the line for him."

Because Hackett said that, Forti said, "we decided to bury him."

I've never served in the military. I do not agree with Dubya's war. I doubt I agree with all of Paul Hackett's beliefs. But I respect and admire any person willing to voluntarily put on the uniform and go to a war zone. I have special admiration for one who does so even when he believes the war is wrong. I cannot believe any decent, patriotic, rational American could feel otherwise.

American can do better than George W. Bush and company.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I [heart] Google!

I quit using Mapquest after discovering Google Maps. Then Google added satellite imagery and I found myself traveling across the U.S. on my Powerbook.

For example, about 15 years ago I drove from Waterloo, Iowa to Ventura, California and back in a three week period. Enjoyed the sites, visited my sister, took lots of photos, stayed in Motel 6. A couple months ago I took that trip again in the virtual world of Google satellite.

And now I've discovered Google has added this.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Pentagon’s New Ray Gun

Ron Davis (if he really exists) over at Chatter has a post about the Army's first semi-automatic .50 Cal sniper weapon system. But I've got a post about a weapon straight out of Star Trek.

It might just turn those it's used on into cripy critters (or would that be Post Toasties?). From Reuters:

Scientists are questioning the safety of a "Star Wars"-style ray gun due to be deployed in Iraq for riot control next year.

The Active Denial System weapon, classified as “less lethal” by the Pentagon, fires a 95-gigahertz microwave beam at rioters to cause heating and intolerable pain in less than five seconds....

But New Scientist magazine reported Wednesday that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes.

In another test, they were also told to remove metal objects like coins from their clothing to avoid local hot spots developing on their skin

So, you think Al Qaeda might gain some recruits the first time the military uses this for "riot control" Iraq? Police are working on a portable version?

McCaskill vs. Talent?

Clair McCaskill would probably be the best Democrat to take on Jim Talent for his senate seat next year. Talent is currently under fifty in his approval rating.

McCaskill garnered 48 percent of the vote in her 2004 bid for governor, despite Kerry-Edwards pulling funding out of Missouri in the last month of the campaign. Perhaps Missourians are regretting not choosing her instead of Matt Blunt, who's approval rating is the fourth worst in the nation.

Given all of this, McCaskill could very well turn this into a top-tier race.

Friday Beagle Blogging

"This town ain't big enough for the two of us, pardner."

Oh, Give Me a Break!

I'm all in favor of positive reinforcement, but this is ridiculous.

Reuters has details from London:

The word "fail" should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralizing pupils, a group of teachers has proposed.

Members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life.

A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labeling children. "We recognize that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said.

"But I recognize that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.

The PAT said it would debate the proposal at a conference next week.

Hopefully this proposal will be defeated. I'd hate to have to refer to Dubya's presidency as a "deferred success."

Friday, July 15, 2005

"One Person Dies Every Hour"

There aren't enough caskets for the Iraqi dead, reports Cihan News Agency (Turkey).

(via News Dissector)"

Coffin makers are unable to keep up with the demand for caskets in Iraq where tens of people die every day due to the continual armed attacks and bombings.

While casket prices increased due to the ever increasing demand, it is impossible to find caskets for the bodies of the poor and homeless. The price of a coffin varies from between $35 and $50 in Bagdat (Baghdad), in a city where one person dies every hour. Caskets have become a major necessity of the country due to the increasing number of deaths. Although around 10 or 15 caskets are constructed per day, they are still not able to supply enough caskets to keep up with demands, say coffin makers. One of them, Abbas Hussein, said: 'Not everyone in Baghdad has the money to buy a coffin. People have difficulty earning their living, how will they find money for a coffin? Poor people bury their relatives using the coffins that individuals have donated to the mosques.'

A Swiss international studies group has claimed that 39,000 of the 100,000 civilian deaths that have occurred are the result of the bombings in Iraq.

Add this to the latest Associated Press poll:
6. When it comes to handling the situation in Iraq, do you approve or disapprove or have mixed feelings about the way George W. Bush is handling that issue?

_Approve, 40 percent (41)

_Disapprove, 59 percent (56)

_Mixed feelings, 1 percent (2)

_Not sure, percent (1)

But hey, at least he didn't have consensual sex with a White House intern. He'd have to be impeached for that.

Friday Beagle Blogging

baxter_pillow, originally uploaded by DocLarry.

I've had a busy week. Time for a well-deserved nap.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Birthday Present Boo Boo

A Nashville couple wanted to do something special for their son's 16th birthday party. So they hired a stripper. And paid extra for her to get fully nude.

The Associated Press has details:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Landon and Anette Pharris are pleading guilty -- to hiring a stripper for their son's 16th birthday party.

The Nashville couple was sentenced Thursday to two years probation and ordered to take parenting classes. They were charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Mom said they wanted to do something special for their son. She said they even had grandpa there. The stripper danced for two hours. Then, the party-goers passed the hat and paid the stripper an extra $150 to get completely naked.

A drug store photo developer dropped a dime on the strip party after seeing the snapshots taken there.

Wonder who most enjoyed the show, grandpa or birthday boy? Why would a mother agree to this?

Random Act of Kindness

My better half was having the oil changed on her car the other day at Bob's Automotive on South Enterprise. A little old lady stopped by with a problem. And the good people at Bob's provided a reason we'll always take our vehicles there.

It seems the woman's frail husband routinely checked the oil on their car every Sunday before going to church. But he's reached a point where he can no longer do so. The lady wondered if harm would be done to the car if the oil wasn't checked every week.

The manager of Bob's told her to bring the car in every Friday and he would personally check the oil to make sure it was OK. The lady offered to pay him for his time and he refused. The lady thanked him, declaring that she knew her husband would worry if the oil wasn't checked each week.

Bob's made life easier for an elderly couple, and won a couple lifetime customers with this random act of kindness.

Iowa Man Wants to Reduce Child Support Obligations

But he just keeps making babies. Nathan Leet, 29, of Malvern, Iowa has fathered five children by five different women. And another on the way. He's months behind in his child support. So, naturally, he's asked a judge to reduce the amount he must pay each month.

Two stories [here and here] for KCCI-TV provide details:

Leet's children include Austin, 9, Dylan, 7, Brayden, 5, Katelyn, 4, and Clayton, 3.

"Five kids. Five different women, and one on the way! It's pitiful," said Wendy Snodgrass, mother of Dylan.

Leet is a truck driver.

"He's a charmer, when he wants to be," Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass, of Council Bluffs, said she was 16 when she became pregnant. She said Leet disappeared shortly after. The state of Iowa tracked him down to collect child support.

"Then they did a DNA test because he said, 'Oh no, that's not my child. No. It's somebody else's.' Found out it was his, and when they said, 'OK, this is your kid. Now you need to pay,' he didn't," she said.

Chastity Pearson is the mother of Leet's first child, Austin.

"We were dating eight months and I got pregnant with Austin. I was two months pregnant, he left me," Pearson said.

"He's got all these kids, and he's not taking care of them," Snodgrass said.


Leet's mother cares for one of his children. The other four live with their four mothers.

Leet complains that he's required to pay $1,300 per month in child support. He said that's more than half his income, so he's trying to get it reduced. Leet said he thinks he's getting the short end of the stick.

When KETV NewsWatch 7's Carol Kloss talked to Leet to ask him about his child support troubles, he was with his 18-year-old girlfriend, Stacy. Stacy is expecting a child.

Kloss: "Have you thought about: stop having kids?"

Stacy: "Ya know, it takes two, lady."

Leet: "Ya know, that is one thing I do have to say, because I've heard that plenty of times. No. 1: There's no gun to their head. Two: I didn't hear them putting up a fight. Three: It does take two. So why doesn't anybody get on them? Why is it always on the guy?"

Kloss: "Well, you're the one with all the kids. They each have one."

Leet: "Yeah, and they each live off the state."

Taxpayers do end up paying some of the bills. Both Dylan and Austin are on Medicaid. But most of the burden falls on the mothers.

"I'm working 74 hours this week so I can make ends meet because I'm not getting the child support," Pearson said.


Leet admits he fell behind on child support when he took a two-month vacation.

"It's kinda hard to play catch-up," Leet said.

Leet is now back to work and the mothers of his children should start receiving their checks again.

"He thinks that we're just all money-grubbing wenches and that's all we care about," Pearson said.

"All they care about is their money," Leet said. "They don't care about their kids. They don't care about what it's going to do to the kids."

How are the kids doing? Kloss asked 7-year-old Dylan.

"Sometimes we go on the trampoline," Dylan said, before his mother jumped in to correct her son, who was thinking of his grandfather.

"Your Dad. Do you know who I'm talking about?" Snodgrass asked her son.

"No," Dylan replied.


"In answer to your question, 'Have I gotten the short end of the stick on this?' Yes," Leet said. "I have, and I've gotten it repeatedly. Enough is enough."

At last check, Leet is still trying to get his child support reduced and the children's mothers are trying to collect what he already owes.

[follow up story]

Leet said Thursday that he deserves a break because he's taken on a lower paying, less demanding job to spend more time with one son who now lives with Nathan's mother. But two of the women who gave birth to his children believe the only reason Leet took a lower paying job is to reduce his child support payments.

In court, Leet said he's working just 30 to 35 hours per week to spend more time at home.

"I pay out more in child support than I take in," Leet testified.

But mother of Leet's first child, Chastity Pearson, testified that she's now working two jobs to make up for the support that Leet doesn't pay.

The state's attorney said there is no good reason why Leet can't continue earning enough to continue making his child support obligation.

Let's all cry crocodile tears for Nathan. Do you think a vasectomy would cost as much as the child support?

Tindle Mills Property Donated to Drury University

The private university has had Tindle Mills in its long-range plan for a few years. The property involved is between Drury and Ozarks Technical Community College, roughly the area bounded by Chestnut St., Porter St., Central St. and Summit St.

As outlined in the news release below, a portion of the 8.1 acre property will be used for the Ozarks Greenway trail to connect Silver Spring Park and Jordan Valley Park, with public parking for those using the trail.

Agreement with ADM Alliance Nutrition Brings Tindle Mills Property to Drury, Includes New Center-City Greenway

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., July 11, 2005 — Drury University and ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. are pleased to announce a joint arrangement. This arrangement will extend the current Ozark Greenway trail south from Silver Springs Park, through the Tindle Mills property at 1300 W. Chestnut and nearly to Jordan Valley Park. Over the next five years, Drury plans to provide additional recreational green space and parking for users of the trail system.

To accomplish this project, ADM Alliance Nutrition, which owns Tindle Mills, will donate the 8.1 acres of land and the entire facility to Drury University. This donation will take place in two phases. At the same time, ADM Alliance Nutrition will renovate and modernize its plant located on Division Street at the Southwest Missouri Stockyards to accommodate its growing customer base.

“We are very pleased to make this donation to help ensure that Drury, ADM Alliance Nutrition, Ozark Greenways and the City of Springfield can recognize their common goal of enhancing this wonderful community” said Terry Myers, Vice President and General Manager of ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. “The Tindle Mills facility has supplied product to this agricultural community for over 100 years. The renovation of our facility at Division Street will allow us to maintain a strong presence in this important distribution market, providing a full line of products to customers in the central U.S.”

“The expansion of this urban greenway represents another major milestone in the development of Springfield’s center city. The walking and biking trail is a wonderful opportunity to promote wellness in our community for our students and neighborhood residents,” said John Sellars, Ph.D., president of Drury University. “We look forward to the day when this will extend south to the Jordan Valley Park and downtown. We also appreciate the ability to expand the Drury campus in ways that will benefit the larger community.”

My guess is Drury will turn the area along Central into a parking lot to replace the current lot at the corner of Washington (Drury Lane) and Central. That lot is the site slated for a new school of business administration building. OTC needs additional parking, also.

I hope Drury will keep the stone wall which faces Central. There are so few well-preserved examples of Springfield's architectural history. It would be nice to have tangible visual links to Springfield's past other than posted signs or photographs hanging in a new building.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Friday Beagle Blogging

frogdog, originally uploaded by DocLarry.

Ah, cool ground on my tummy, shade on my back. Life is good!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Changes Coming for TV News?

Stations in Nashville and San Francisco will train their anchors and reporters to use smaller hand-held cameras and laptop editing equipment in an effort to "maximize each station's news gathering capacity to achieve a higher news story count."

All News Staff to Film Video [United Press International] (I take no responsibility for the incorrect use of the word "film" here.)

Television stations WRKN-TV in Nashville and KRON-TV in San Francisco will give news department staff hand-held video cameras to gather news.

The goal of the "video journalist" model is to maximize each station's news gathering capacity to achieve a higher news story count by giving reporters, editors and photographers and some anchors the ability to gather video for stories and edit the stories.

Staff at WKRN-TV will begin an intensive eight-week training session with Michael Rosenblum, a leading expert on video journalism.

"Today's newsrooms despite all the technological changes that have occurred in our business are still running essentially the same way they did when broadcast news began in the 1950s," said Michael Sechrist, president and general manager of WKRN-TV.

"Using smaller cameras and laptop editing allows us to make long overdue and exciting changes to the way news looks and is covered."

The KRON-TV news team will begin training with Rosenblum later this year.

Sounds like the corporatespeak run-up to another "we need to do more with less" speech. Still, it could result in "news" being delivered in a different way. Glad we have a Powerbook that handles digital video editing via firewire.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Disturbing Discovery

While perusing the web site of the newspaper for a town in which I lived a long while ago I came across this item about someone with whom I worked.

Suspect in slaying of IPTV producer faces trial this month

Everyone agrees that there were two people in the Ford Bronco when it pulled away from Patrick McRae's house and into the darkness in October 1999.

Everyone agrees that 43-year-old McRae, bleeding from at least a half-dozen stab wounds to his neck, was dying as he lay on the enclosed porch of his Lincoln Avenue home.

But the question that a Polk County jury ultimately will be asked to answer is this: Which one of the Bronco's occupants wielded the knife?

I was shocked to read that Patrick McRae had been murdered nearly six years ago. We weren't good friends, just two people working for the same company for a time. I moved on to another career, Patrick eventually moved on to a different employer. I hadn't kept in touch with him or even thought about him.

Why, then, do I find the story of his death so disturbing? Perhaps because of the violence involved. Perhaps because this is the first person I actually knew personally to have been murdered. Not died. Murdered.

I grew up in a small farming community. Crime just wasn't something that happened often, other than burglaries, maybe an arson, speeding. It was huge news when someone robbed aa paper carrier at knife-point. That, of course, changed as time marched on.

As part of my news photographer duties I saw murder victims and murderers. I wrote copy about the effect on victims' families and friends. As a doctoral student I helped produce training materials for sensitively covering victims of violent crimes.

Now, I think I have an even better understanding. I did not know Patrick all that well. But I had worked with him, drank with him, and laughed with him. I knew him well enough to mind that someone cut his life short at an early age, and did so very violently. I knew him well enough to feel anger and sorrow, even six years later.

And now I must go hug my wife and my dog.

Enjoy the Birds While You Can

The Republicans want to ban flag burning but let endangered species die. The New York Times provides details.

Republican critics of the Endangered Species Act in Congress have drafted legislation hedging the government's obligation to take all necessary steps to bring back to robust health any species on the brink of extinction.

The draft envisions more limited government obligations: ensuring that the status of an endangered plant or animal gets no worse and helping to make it better.

Representatives of environmental groups who have seen the draft legislation said that the change, achieved by redefining the act's interpretation of "conservation," would severely undercut the law.

The draft measure, said Jamie Rappaport Clark, the executive vice president of Defenders of Wildlife, "takes a wrecking ball to the whole Endangered Species Act" by changing its mission, disabling enforcement tools and loosening controls on agencies like the Forest Service and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The bald eagle would have been history under the Bush regime.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Don't Get Shot or Your Landlord Might Evict You

An ex-Marine and ex-police officer is being evicted from her apartment after surviving six gunshot wounds and a jump from her second-story balcony to escape the man trying to kill her.

Her landlord says she was too loud while being attacked!

Dorothea Thomas was attacked last Friday. She got out of the hospital on Tuesday. On Wednesday, she found a notice on her front door, ordering her to leave.

The former Marine and police officer was served with an eviction notice for, among other things, being too loud.

Thomas is outraged. In her words, "I was not doing the violence. I was the victim. I shouldn't be treated like the perpetrator."

Peggy Piche, district manager of United Dominion Residential Community, said the owners "truly regret the difficulty she has been through," but they feel "it is in the best interests of everyone involved that she no longer resides at our property."

According to The Daily News, the eviction notice said Thomas had violated her lease agreement because she was attacked on the apartment grounds.
She has lived in the apartment since 1996.

"In this case the victim was attacked by someone with whom she had an ongoing relationship and had invited onto our property," Piche said in a press release. "While we empathize with her situation, her guest's actions were not only a breach of her lease, but more importantly, they endangered the lives of every other innocent person in the area."

The apartment manager reportedly told Thomas that she needs to pay her rent until she moves out in a few weeks, and that she could get out of her lease without losing her security deposit.

"She was talking to me like she was doing me a favor for not penalizing me for breaking the lease," Thomas told the Daily News. "I told her that I wasn't the one trying to break the lease."

Thomas was shot in the chest, right breast, right palm, right forearm, thigh and buttocks. Two bullets remain inside her. Her left foot was also broken when she jumped off the balcony.

An ex-boyfriend, Tyrone Burks, has been arrested and charged with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, felony speeding to elude arrest and speeding 115 mph in a 55-mph zone, according to the paper.

Thomas lives in the three-bedroom apartment with her 3-year-old son and 18-year-old niece.

The Jacksonville, North Carolina apartment complex says, on its web page, "We wouldn't want you to come live with us without getting to know us." Now you know them. Want to live there?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday Beagle Blogging

baxtertypes, originally uploaded by DocLarry.

"Let's see, i before e except after.... This would be SO much easier with opposable thumbs."