Throwing words away one syllable at a time.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Tookie train and who told on Kenny, again?

My god, today is a wet dream in local newsland.

Let's start with Custom Copies and Kenny Roberts being sued *again* for copyright infringement. Come on, I don't know that I know anyone who didn't see this one coming from a mile away. The last line in the Sun's story was interesting to me: the point isn't about the money but instead about the quote from the Allen Ryan, director of intellectual property for the publishing house suing Roberts. "But the point we're trying to make is more than just a loss to the publishers. It undercuts (copy shops) who are trying to do things right."

Tell me, because I wonder, isn't it just possible that other copy shops in town who consistently follow copyright law and thereby have a good relationship with Ryan's business for that reason, could it be that maybe there's a little bit more behind this than meets the eye?

Just a thought. And for the record, I am dissappointed that neither the Sun nor the Alligator addressed why Kenny changed the name of Custom Copies to OBT - Orange and Blue Textbooks.

Otherwise.. The Tookie train dragging behind it cars labeled "no more capital punishment" and "Florida's inhuman lethal injection" is going to collide with Danny Rolling and spatter all over Jeb's desk blotter.

I know few things for certain but this is one: Florida will find a humane way of killing prisoners post haste. There is no way this state is going to allow Danny Rolling to live out the rest of his life in a prison in Bradford County.

Rolling is the poster child for why states have death penalities. No one is Tookie enough to challenge that, not even Tookie.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Baby bites dog

Not for the first time in my life, I've wondered about the news in other countries.

I'm the first one to admit I'm a cornfed white girl from the midwest and that creeps out in my naivette and a lack of worldliness. Maybe everyone feels that way and it's not just an Indiana thing.

But what the holy crap is up with Rueters wire from odd countries on the other side of the world?

"Baby feeds on dogs milk"

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - A Tanzanian mother went into hysterics when she found her six month-old baby suckling dog's milk, a local daily reported Thursday.

The mother left her son on a mat while she went to hang clothes in the yard of her Dar Es Salaam home, Uhuru newspaper said. When she came back to find him suckling on the dog, she screamed and rushed to her brother's house to seek advice.

But the brother managed to convince her dog's milk was harmless. "Since that day the baby is doing well and hasn't had diarrhea or any signs of illness," he was quoted as saying.

Another relative, who witnessed the incident Monday, was also unperturbed. "The baby was satisfied, since his belly was full and his lips had traces of milk," he told Uhuru.

OK, I read the story because it's almost as close as you can get to the "man bites dog" case of newsworthiness. But honestly newsworthiness really seems to be a bit of a stretch here; there are no names attributed and it's she said, he said.

Nothing to see here.

I used to give Michael Brown the benefit of a doubt.

He might have been a mid-level pencil pushing politico who got a little lucky and landed himself a government position further up the foodchain than he deserved. Hey, it happens all the time. We train the those kinds of politico has-beens of tomorrow in our student governments every day. I wondered if he could have been more a scapegoat than incompetent.

But I am taking back my doubt right now.

Brown is an ass and an idiot.

You can not say you have a legitimate interest in making records known, or a truth known, and then turn around and use it for personal leverage against the president to guarantee your own legal defense.

My friends, they call it extortion. If you have information the public needs to know, be honorable enough to hand that info over forthwith.

And my first glance at the new headline of CNN shows that Bush seems unruffled. The news headline, Bush: US thwarted al Qaeda attack on LA.

Geez, the cop on South Park is less obvious when he says, "OK people, move along, Nothing to see here, you looky-loos."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Wrong Side of the Tracks

Apparently I am going to have to go and get my roots done damned quick because my white trash is showing.

Another hour of my life was sucked from me as I sat through the Historic Planning board meeting in McIntosh tonight. Honestly, I love a public meeting. I have to admit that and these are rife with arguments and anger. They're better than TV news and worse than Jerry Springer.

Every time a person's roof came up for discussion tonight, one woman -- we'll call her Red Sweater -- turned one way and then the next as if to see who she could rile up, to see who might be as outraged as she was at the prospect of someone having a gray tin roof in her historic district. You know, she said McIntosh is like Savannah and Charleston. Those people just accept if they want to live there, they will have to paint their shutters Savannah green.

So out came the chorus of, "They NEVER would have done it like that."

"They" are the mysterious people of yester-year.

One couple wanted to close in their laundry room. He'd spent a great amount of time scanning and drawing in the wall and doors he would install. The board ohhh'ed and ahhh'ed over his handiwork. And you could hear it building from Red Sweater in the middle room... feel it building in the room...

"They never would have done it like that."

It's the kiss of death, living in the shadow of the ghosts of McIntosh. You could sense the couple's initial hope shift to fear, despair. And then came the questions. The image didn't show enough dimension to show how far away the doors were from each other.

"They never would have had it this close together."

Because people in the 1890's had architectural software for designs like this.

Pictures were passed around. A laundry room stood out in the open. Washing machine, etc. They were closing that in and building a wall with french doors.

One woman showed me, "Do you want to see it? See?" See... see? As if I would see in items on their porch the outrage of such an abomination as a wall as opposed to their lives out for all to see. Whose business is it?

Someone else began suggesting, describing in detail what they could do instead and how nice it would look, how well it would fit in. The woman asking for the wall had her jaw set and she asked, "Oh, you mean like your house is?"

Oh, shades of Stepford ... do you think "they" would have done it like that? You know, "they" never would have had an electric washing machine.

All-in-all, they seem like good people. Good people but for Red Sweater.

No one here has a proper agenda or approaches boards in any kind of fashion resembling that of proper municipal government. I was invited out of a public meeting of the school board last night. I demurred. I went. I hated it. It took more out of me than you can imagine. I held in the words, "Show me the exemption."

Because I am not writing an expose of the town. I am writing a profile. I am here to watch. I am remembering that and reminding myself...

Even with that, I needed to know Red Sweater's name. I moved toward her after the meeting, "You seem to know a lot of about this."

I'm not afraid to look stupid. I can be completely stupid. She demanded to know who I am. A student, a journalist. Student journalist, freelance. I'm writing a profile, it's for a class.

We have cotton moccasins that come out of the lake with friendlier eyes than her's. She then moved to the other question they always ask, "Where do you live?"

I knew where this was going and answered her honestly, giving the name of the Cove. I live in the fish camp. I live on the poor side of town, where historic is circa 1970 and perhaps not as much to be proud of as say cracker house two blocks away ... most of the time, I don't care.

It's interesting. The people are nice. They're retirees who most of them had homes and lives up north and some have been here 20 years. They are from another time and care about each other in a way that you don't see anymore. They watch out for each other. Not like in the "real" historic part of town. Well, not so you could tell from their meeting, anyway.

So, I give her my answer and I watch something happen that's never happened to me.

Red Sweater's pit-viper eyes traveled the length of me and came back to my eyes, "Yes, I figured."

I called my mother and told on the woman. I grew up in a nice neighborhood. I was preppy at all the right times. I secretly knew I didn't really fit in that scene but hey - I had the right address if I wanted to push the issue. Add to that, I could hardly look like I am from the Cove when most of everyone who lives here is in AARP.

There's a sign in front of the playground and outside the Civic Center here in McIntosh. It says, "Play at your own Risk." I've looked at it wondering what the hell that means.

Now I know.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Blogfodder: Dark lords of the universe.

BC-Church Abuse, 2nd Ld-Writethru,0617
Judge approves settlement of up to $85 million in church sex abuse case
Eds: Adds details.

With BC-Church Abuse-List


Associated Press Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A judge approved a settlement of up to $85 million Tuesday between sexual abuse victims and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, one of the largest deals the church has reached with U.S. parishioners who were molested by clergy.

The settlement covers 361 victims who claim they were abused over a period of 50 years by priests in a diocese that once included 57 counties across a large swath of Kentucky. Special
Judge John Potter said a desire by the Covington Diocese to make reparations to the victims contributed to the settlement.

The diocese had originally agreed to pay up to $120 million to abuse victims, saying it would pay out $40 million and its insurance companies would pay up to $80 million, which would have made it the largest church sex abuse settlement in the country...

Eds: ADDS Covington, Ky. settlement

With BC-Church Abuse

By The Associated Press

Sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests has cost the U.S. church more than $1 billion since 1950. Here are some of the largest known payouts to victims since the crisis intensified in 2002 with revelations that a molester priest was moved among parishes in the Boston Archdiocese without alerting parents or police:

- Diocese of Orange, Calif., 2004, $100 million for 90 abuse claims.

- Diocese of Covington, Ky., 2006, up to $85 million for 361 people.

- Archdiocese of Boston, 2003, $85 million for 552 claims.

- Diocese of Oakland, Calif., 2005, $56 million to 56 people.

- Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., 2003, $25.7 million to 243 victims.

- Diocese of Tucson, Ariz., 2005, agrees to fund a settlement trust worth about $22 million for more than 50 victims as part of a plan to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

- Diocese of Providence, R.I., 2002, $13.5 million to settle 36 claims.

AP-ES-01-31-06 1658EST

I had a reaction to this story I didn't expect.
Previous settlement stories against the Catholic Church left me thinking along the lines, "Good, they deserve it. All of them. The Church for their curruption and the people for being victimized. For shame -- to fuck with someone's spirituality..."

My grandmother's death last month changed that feeling, I think. Tempered it might be a better word...

She told me once that she had two life choices growing up: become a nun or marry. She said she got a job, instead, and did risque things like play tennis in a tennis dress -- said that was how she met my grandfather.

On her deathbed, I fell into a situation where I ended up praying the rosary with a couple of my aunts and a cousin. Grandma was coherent enough to try to say the words. There was poignance and sisterhood the ritual -- five women bound by blood in a mediation circle. The Hail Mary prayer is a very feminine prayer. Because of how meaningful this was to her, I think the funeral Mass later was more of a comfort to me than the usual torture it's always been.

Mass has been historically intolerable to me. I remember them as endless as a kid. I never knew what was going on or how much longer it lasted. I never quite understood why we had to go when we did. Add to that, my church clothes were itchy. Sometimes I'd see kids from school there in jeans. My brother and I were never confirmed so being forced into Catholic Church was just another way of feeling caught on the outside, looking in and never quite being part of the game. I hated it. I always felt like a party crasher. I never knew when to kneel, stand, sit or what to sing. But I've come to understand there's a value there. A key part of a journalist's personal history is the alienation factor. For some reason, the best journalists are the ones who were shaped by being outsiders in some way. When they finally do fit in they turn to the dark side and become agents of the dark lord of P.R.

My spiritual path is somewhere other than the Catholic Church. My grandma's death helped me to understand the spiritual side of her faith and appreciate it.

So, I was pretty stunned to find out that cash settlements for molestation have cost the church more than $1 billion. It hit me that money came from people like my grandparents who were truly poor for many years. And it royally pissed me off to see a part of their spirituality come to that end. I suppose when I read this, I saw a much wider pool of victims.

The other thing that hit me about this story was the line that the church's insurance company was going to take on a chuck of the payout. How does a church get molestation insurance??? Insurance companies in the U.S. are pulling out of states like Florida. Ours dropped us because of the hurricanes. And yet they are representing the church in molestation cases??

Insurance companies are the other agents of the dark lords of the universe.

Blogfodder: Not Tookie enough

Thursday night the thunder worked like a drug holding me down in my bed, out cold. This morning I'm up at 4:30 a.m. listening to it rattle the walls. I swear to god that's the same map on weather underground that was there when I looked 8 hours ago. My yard is a lake.

I collected stories off the wire for blogfodder the other night while Steve gave the AP quiz and lectured the lab. They're old now but they resonated with me. Acquiring a taste for reading news straight from the wire is like the difference between pure and processed.


Supreme Court blocks Florida execution

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked the

execution of a man who drowned a woman in her bathtub a decade ago,

granting a stay to a Florida death row inmate for the second time

in a week.

The court, acting without its newest member, ordered Florida to

stop the evening execution of Arthur Rutherford, who claims that

the state's lethal injection procedure is cruel and unusual


AP-ES-01-31-06 1814EST

I didn't see this story play as prominently on the local front as I expected. Maybe because he wasn't Tookie-esque enough a character ... or because Florida really isn't the new California yet. We're getting there. Seems like few state stories go national that don't include freaks and storms.
I read a story describing Rutherford's family's uncontained joy and I felt for them. Nothing good can come from the state's decision making powers being sucked up into the hands of the federalistas -- even if it is the SC making the call.

I don't think this is over; Florida is just going to find another way of offing him. Delaying his death only drags out a painful situation for the family.
Not to mention, I am sure the woman he drowned in her bathtub some years back probably thought her death was cruel and unsual. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a believer in an eye-for-an-eye or much of a proponent of capital punishment.
Around 7th grade, I read a story in my dad's Time magazine with a lede that described exactly what happened to the human body in an electric chair. I think this was one of the first time I understood how words can impact and change a person's point of view. I also remember being younger and seeing a story in Time on the Jonestown murders -- all the bloated bodies out in the sun. No one took it away from me. No one explained it. I read the captions. I got it.

So, I think I'm gonna break up blogfodders by story. I tend to write longer than blogs are supposed to be ...


I posted this this morning but this e blogger sucks ass and ate my last three entries and didn't work have the day. Not to mention, it keeps dumping my design changes.