Beaten to death.

It’s December, and time for the nation’s newspapers to clear the decks of any Pulitzer-worthy material they might have hanging around, but trust me on this: The three-part series the New York Times just concluded, about Derek Boogaard, a recently deceased hockey goon, is worth the time it takes to read it beginning to end.

Part 1 is here, with links to the rest of the series at the top of the page. I know some of you might have difficulty accessing NYT material, so it’s worth a Google to see if a non-restricted newspaper is running it off the NYT wire service. It’s really that good, a heartbreaking look at a boy who rose in the NHL by… well, this sums it up pretty well:

There is no athlete quite like the hockey enforcer, a man and a role viewed alternately as noble and barbaric, necessary and regrettable. Like so many Canadian boys, Boogaard wanted to reach the National Hockey League on the glory of goals. That dream ended early, as it usually does, and no one had to tell him.

But big-time hockey has a unique side entrance. Boogaard could fight his way there with his bare knuckles, his stick dropped, the game paused and the crowd on its feet. And he did, all the way until he became the Boogeyman, the N.H.L.’s most fearsome fighter, a caricature of a hockey goon rising nearly 7 feet in his skates.

Boogaard’s death was from an overdose of the prescription painkillers he took to live with his many injuries, although he had crossed the line into addiction some time before, and was in fact just out of rehab when he swallowed the pills that killed him this past May. The package has many links to supplemental materials, including YouTube videos of his most infamous fights. I’m not a hockey fan, but it reminded me of this two-year-old piece, most likely also behind a paywall, called “Why the Red Wings Don’t Fight,” about the Detroit team’s rise to greatness on the Russian model of the game, emphasizing well-rounded players in every position, rather than the stars-plus-enforcers North American lineup:

Fights have always broken out during physical hockey games, but in the 1960s it became a strategy. The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers used intimidation to win Stanley Cups between 1969 and 1975. Without players who specialized in fisticuffs, a team’s star players would be beaten to a pulp.

…Since the bloody ’80s, the NHL has been struggling to scale back fighting. It instituted penalties for coming off the bench for a fight and extra penalties for instigating. After the lockout season of 2004-2005, the league made strides to speed up the game by increasing enforcement of hooking and interference penalties. These measures further decreased the need for “enforcers.” Fighting plummeted in the 2005-2006 season. The Red Wings had 28 fights in 2003-04 and only six in 2005-06. This season the team has so little need for fisticuffs that it opted to populate its fourth line with skill players, leaving enforcer Darren McCarty in the minors for most of the season.

The bomb lurking inside Boogaard was the brain damage he sustained in all those throwdowns; he was one of the growing number of athletes whose brain was left to science to study, and what the pathologists found was sobering:

Boogaard had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as C.T.E., a close relative of Alzheimer’s disease. It is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head. It can be diagnosed only posthumously, but scientists say it shows itself in symptoms like memory loss, impulsiveness, mood swings, even addiction.

More than 20 dead former N.F.L. players and many boxers have had C.T.E. diagnosed. It generally hollowed out the final years of their lives into something unrecognizable to loved ones.

And now, the fourth hockey player, of four examined, was found to have had it, too.

But this was different. The others were not in their 20s, not in the prime of their careers.

The scientists on the far end of the conference call told the Boogaard family that they were shocked to see so much damage in someone so young. It appeared to be spreading through his brain. Had Derek Boogaard lived, they said, his condition likely would have worsened into middle-age dementia.

The NHL’s response? “Not enough evidence” to draw a link between repeated concussions and CTE. Keep digging, boys.

As I said, I’m not a hockey fan, but there sure are a lot of them here, and the Wings are probably the first or second most-beloved team in a city full of them. I’ve never heard a fan complain that the team doesn’t fight enough, and the few people I recommended that WSJ column to nodded in agreement, and said the team doesn’t need to fight, because they play so well.

So why are hockey teams still fighting? One of you who knows better will have to ‘splain that one.

Anyway, a truly sad story still worth reading.

So let’s turn on a dime, shall we? We need a little funny up in here:

Tom & Lorenzo take on a few of the truly astonishing outfits worn to the premiere of “W.E.,” the new Madonna movie, which I am PISSED has not dropped a trailer yet, so I can laugh and mock it. Oh, no, wait: It has. And it looks just about as awful as promised. That Madonna — so transgressive!

One of those roundups of a dozen or so helpful household hints, most of which I’d never heard of before, many of them pure genius.

And to come full circle, a great read from Deadspin on another figure from the sporting world who likely had brain damage, but the more conventional, self-inflicted kind. Never heard of George Kimball before. Thanks, Cooz.

And that’s it for me. Happy Wednesday, all.

Posted at 9:37 am in Media, Movies, Popculch |
 

71 responses to “Beaten to death.”

  1. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Can I add Clay Shirky to the mix today? Since this is a place where folks will know either the facts to refute or the anecdotes to reinforce what he’s saying. His latest media & news essay is at – http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2011/12/institutions-confidence-and-the-news-crisis/

    Key graf (IMHO): “Saying newspapers will provide a stable home for reporters, just as soon as we figure out how to make newspapers stable, is like saying that if we had some ham, we could have a ham sandwich, if we had some bread. We need to support the people who cover hard news, but when you see a metro daily for a town of 100,000 that employs only six such reporters (just 10% of the masthead, much less total staff), saving the entire edifice just to support that handful looks a lot harder than just finding new ways to support them directly.”

    I’ve taken the hint and bought the online sub to the NYTimes as the year of free-ness ends, with the added aid of having an edu e-mail from my OSU-N work. It’s $1.88 per week at the education rate, and we’ll see. But as the tranche of free users make their choice, I’m really (morbidly) curious to see how many subscribers they actually pick up, and how it will impact the paper’s staffing over the next year or two if that turns out to be a major plunge in paid users and page views.

    It’s like I keep reminding my son, who’s just now starting to think about and ask of such things: the TV networks are not selling programs to us. They’re selling our eyeballs to advertisers. What is journalism selling, and to whom? Because to pick up another Shirky theme: if you’re not paying for something, then you’re what’s being sold.

  2. Randy said on December 7, 2011 at 9:58 am

    We just got the NHL back here in Winnipeg, after a 16-year hiatus. In the off-season, the team’s designated enforcer committed suicide in his home. The link between his death and his line of work is not as clear as with Boogard, but people are wondering, since without his fists, he was a marginal player, probably relegated to the minor leagues. Some of these guys have said it’s not a fun life, knowing you have to go out and punch a guy in the face as part of a game strategy. Heckuva way to earn a million bucks a year…

    Without fighting, about 100 players would be out of work, at least in the NHL.

  3. Bitter Scribe said on December 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

    The rationale behind the NHL allowing fights to the extent they do is that it lets the players blow off steam, thereby keeping them from doing something even worse, using their sticks.

    That never made sense to me. I don’t know much about hockey (never even worn skates), but I do know enough about human behavior to know that violence usually escalates. If someone punches me and I have a stick in my hands…

  4. Deggjr said on December 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

    When Darren McCarty scored three goals in a playoff game against the Avalanche in 2002, Steve Yzerman said “I have a better chance of winning the lottery than he does of getting a hat trick.”

    Wayne Gretzky was asked if hockey fights were real. He said “If they weren’t, I’d be in a lot more of them.”

  5. Deborah said on December 7, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I went to a few hockey game when I lived in St. Louis, not really a fan but enjoyed those games. I don’t get the fighting and anger in all sports. I think it ruins the game. It’s the same in politics now. Way too much anger floating around out there. When people see their heroes throw punches it makes them think it’s OK for them too. They may not be throwing actual punches but angry invectives instead. Another symptom of devolution.

  6. caliban said on December 7, 2011 at 10:37 am

    I used to drink stout with George Kimbaall at the legendary Matt Talbot’s (named for a famous modern Irish martyr)around the corner from our condo in the South End, when he worked for the Boston Phoenix, a great “alternative” newspaper. He was a great companion, and a hilarious storyteller. At some point in the late 80s Matt’s became a gay leather bar.

    As far as hockey is concerned, putting the old Bruins in the same sentence as the Flyers for goonism is ludicrous. And the Wings? Gordy Howe remains the most notorious stick surgeon in the history of the NHL. He was a truly dirty player. Over the years, for the Bruins, Cam Neely, Johnny Bucyk and Cam Neely have had 50 goal seasons while being feared battlers with their fists. In fact, Neely’s brilliant career was ended by a cheap shot from an asshole afraid to fight him, Ulf Sammuelson. If the NHL were serious about stopping fights, they’d install college hockey rules. One fight=two game suspension. Cam Neely was one of the most skilled players and feared boxers in the history of the NHL.

    In honor of the subject, Warren Zevon:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCpdkbo-_co

  7. Dexter said on December 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Deggjr: And so sweet…the hat trick goals were all against (“a-GANE-sst”) Patrick Roy.

    Also, I’ll never forget the one time I saw the Stanley Cup. It was between Sergei Fedorov and Anna Kournikova , elevated in the front seat of one of many red Ford Mustangs during the parade up Woodward. It was a bright , extra-sunny June day, and the sun illuminated both Kournikova’s blond hair as well as the shiny cup to make the scene other-worldly. Fedorov was old, and Anna was just sixteen years old. How this played out in the press was something: “Oh we’re just friends.” And the parade went on. And Anna married another later on.

    Last night’s Wings game had some hard knocks…Justin Abdelkader’s knee went hard into the St. Louis goalie’s jaw and sort of knocked him out (“oat”) for about two minutes.
    Jimmy Howard, the Wings goalie, later started punching the fuck out of a Blues skater who Howard deemed worthy of a thrashing. The Red Wings fight. They don’t have Darren McCarty skating anymore and Bob Probert kicked the bucket a while ago, but even old man Holmstrom was in there swinging last night after his helmet was pinched off against the boards .
    Vs. Network is soon to be re-named “NBC SPORTS NETWORK”.
    Fox Sports Detroit and the NHL cut my area out of the Red Wings coverage zone, so I watched last night’s game on Vs.
    After all the years having Red Wings at my disposal, this is the third season of having to watch them only a few times a year on other networks. Life sucks. :(

  8. Sue said on December 7, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Going back to yesterday:
    Basset, you ok?

  9. Sue said on December 7, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I noticed a couple of months ago that a pediatric doctor group (maybe the American Academy, not sure) came out officially against boxing for children and teens. My first thought, and I know I’m being cynical, is that there are thousands more child and teen football players than boxers, getting their bells rung on a pretty regular basis although perhaps with less consistent ferocity. It struck me as an easy proclamation to make while ignoring the elephant in the room.

  10. Julie Robinson said on December 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Hockey carries no appeal to me, like boxing and football I can’t get past the violence. Let’s just stipulate that as okay, may we, Caliban? I’m not going to ask you to like figure skating or Broadway musicals. But let’s also stipulate that those activities don’t carry the same risks.

    Don’t bother trying the cake batter in ice cream cones suggestion. We did that for a party once and the cones got all soggy, plus they were impossible to get into the oven without getting tipped over.

    And since it’s yet another dreary day and I am a week behind in my work, it’s time for the annual viewing of the Twelve Gays of Christmas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSedhEoutP0.

  11. del said on December 7, 2011 at 11:01 am

    There’s so much irony in the NFL’s suspenension of Ndamukong Suh for 2 games for his harmless hissy fit spectacle on Thanksgiving. Defensive football players live to inflict punishment. The brass don’t want to give the face of the “game” a black eye.

  12. Lex said on December 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

    [[And now, the fourth hockey player, of four examined, was found to have had it, too.
    But this was different. The others were not in their 20s, not in the prime of their careers.]]

    Actually, NFL wide receiver Chris Henry, who died in December 2009 at age 26 of acute blunt-force head trauma when he fell out of the back of a moving pickup truck, was found to have had chronic traumatic encephalopathy. (Doctors were easily able to distinguish between the fresh injuries and the older, underlying trauma.) Not only was he the youngest person so diagnosed to that point, he was the first active NFL player to be so diagnosed. And what was really disturbing was that he had never had a concussion in his football career.

    Much as I love the game, I think football is headed for a reckoning. And after reading articles in the New Yorker and GQ about CTE, there is no way on God’s green earth I’d let my son play the game.

  13. nancy said on December 7, 2011 at 11:10 am

    The WSJ column on the non-fighting Wings pointed out that this was a fairly recently development:

    For the Red Wings, the march toward nonviolence began when the team assembled a line of players known as the “Russian Five” in the 1990s.

    Oh, and I would have linked to that Zevon song, too, but it has a problematic co-author for me. Y’all know who I’m talking about.

  14. Dorothy said on December 7, 2011 at 11:34 am

    That young man was 28 when he died. My daughter is that age. I just want to cry!

  15. Deggjr said on December 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Dexter, heh. I don’t follow the Red Wings but just happened to watch that playoff game and nine years later remember how openly incredulous his teammates were. They were too shocked to speak in sports cliches. Very entertaining, sports are just soap operas for guys.

  16. Sherri said on December 7, 2011 at 11:46 am

    The rationale for hockey fights is that it keeps the the stick fouls down and protects the star players from cheap shots. Olympic hockey manages to handle it without fighting; fighting gets you disqualified from the tournament. But fans still want fighting in the NHL, so fighting continues. The NYTimes has been doing amazing work on head trauma in sports since about 2007, and slowly the NFL has begun to change, so maybe the NHL will slowly come around as well.

  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 7, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Basset, I also used to think he was either performance art or an actor/writer working out a character, but I’ve since been convinced otherwise. It’s mesmerizing, but in a NASCAR “that’s not going to end well” sort of way. (from yesterday’s comment thread)

  18. Kaye said on December 7, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I would have ignored a household hints link found anywhere else but I followed your link and said “wow, what a great idea!” several times. Now I am looking forward to making cookie bowls.

  19. Deborah said on December 7, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Julie that video was fantastic.

  20. alex said on December 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Speaking of the hints, I already knew how to fold a fitted sheet but it never occurred to me to store entire sets of bedding in their respective pillow cases. Or to use a baby wipes bottle as a plastic grocery bag dispenser. Or to put hosiery over a vacuum hose to find small lost objects in the carpet. Can’t wait to try some of these myself.

  21. nancy said on December 7, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Now all you need is a baby and someone in your household who wears hose.

  22. Julie Robinson said on December 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Although I wonder if the bags would get holes from going through the cross hairs of the lid. We have a couple of bag holders from those marvelous Swedes at IKEA. You put the bags in at the top, pull them out from the bottom, and the whole thing is screwed into the door of the recycling closet. It used to be the linen closet but we keep those under the beds. Heloise signing out.

  23. John C said on December 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I love hockey, and even appreciate the occasional fight. But I think they can do without it. Even with the fighting, football is a far more violent, less skilled sport.
    As an aside, I recall a funny moment when I was living in Detroit, just after the big basketball brawl between the Pistons and the Pacers. The whole thing was traced back to a cheap foul (memory is foggy, but I think it involved Ben Wallace and Ron Artest). I remember a sports radio caller saying: “We don’t have this kind of silliness in hockey (meaning a fight spilling into the stands). If it was hockey, the two guys would have had a fight and that would be the end of it.”

  24. Suzanne said on December 7, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Years and years ago I used the panty hose/vacuum cleaner trick to find a lost brown contact lens on a tan carpet. Worked great as I found the contact.

    I’m glad my son never took to football. I truly can’t really understand why anyone would encourage a kid to pursue it considering all the scientific evidence that is being found about permanent brain damage. Although, I guess it’s like my bro-in-law a few years ago talking about how hot your head feels after a lengthy cell phone conversation and how that can’t be good for your brain, but then admitted to giving his 10 yr old daughter a cell phone, because she might need to call for a ride from school or something. Seriously? Where would a 10 yr old be that there would not be an adult somewhere near? Didn’t seem to bother him in the least that he just admitted that he thought the phone might damage her brain…

  25. moe99 said on December 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I was at the Minnesota Wild game two weeks ago, where they had the tribute to Derek Boogaard. When Trivial Pursuit was all the rage in the early ’80’s, the hockey category was always greeted with groans and the usual answer given by us non hockey fans was “Gordie Howe.” So given my ignorance, I was not aware of the deeper issues surrounding Boogaard’s death until I read the NYT series. Of course, none of that was mentioned that night by either the family or the Wild. Thanks for highlighting it, Nancy.

  26. basset said on December 7, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Sue@8, sure appreciate you asking… doing, as they say out in the country, “tolerable,” could be worse.

    On the one hand, sore knees, holiday-season depression, and it’s my dead-too-young brother’s birthday, he’s been gone three years and would have been 47 today.

    On the other, no math so far, doing a voice-over for a fishing show tonight which is a nice ego boost as well as a little extra Christmas money, and I see the orthopedist Friday. Again, thanks.

  27. brian stouder said on December 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Good to hear things are – as much as possible – “on-track”, basset.

    And, not for nothing, don’t miss Julie’s musical YoutTube link. I finally caught it at lunch today, and as has previously been said, it is marvelous.

    edit: I’m with Joe K – RIP Frank Gannon (every bit as much as Col Potter)

    And a complete non-sequitur; a gem from a writer whose work Jolene introduced me to

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/02/why-do-so-few-blacks-study-the-civil-war/8831/

  28. Bitter Scribe said on December 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Just finished that NYT series on Boogaard.

    OH. MY. GOD.

    I didn’t like fighting in hockey before, but I really hate it now.

  29. Julie Robinson said on December 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Blago gets 14 years: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/07/us-crime-blagojevich-idUSTRE7B604C20111207

  30. Joe Kobiela said on December 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    RIP, Colonel Potter.
    Pilot Joe

  31. Dorothy said on December 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    So Jerry Sandusky just got arrested again. Do you think they could make one of the conditions of his bail to be that he NOT go on television anymore and give inane, ridiculous, disgusting interviews where he tries to explain his love for children?! I haven’t watched any of them but I hear/read about them in the newspaper. He’s dumber than several boxes of rocks.

  32. Sherri said on December 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    John C, your sports radio caller lacks a sense of history: http://www.nesn.com/2009/12/thirty-year-anniversary-of-mike-milburys-shoe-incident-at-msg.html

  33. Mindy said on December 7, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    WD-40 will ruin plastic, so I wouldn’t use it on a computer. The brand of knitting machine I have has a plastic bed that needs to be lubricated occasionally in order for the carriage to glide over the needles. People who used WD-40 on them discovered that the plastic warped. It’s a cheap machine and easily replaced, but still. I’d try rubbing peanut butter on a computer screen to remove crayon art followed by degreaser applied with a cloth to removed the peanut oil. Yes, I need to get a life.

  34. Sue said on December 7, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Tolerable is ok this time of year, Basset, glad you’re hanging in there. What’s the fishing show, something local or anything I might find here in WI? Make sure you use your Momentous Occasion Voice and see if you can arrange to get the NFL Very-Important-Music-Which-Is-Actually-That-What-Do-You-Do-With-A-Drunken-Sailor-Tune. A fishing show using NFL production values would be just the distraction us holiday-weary depressants need right now.

  35. MaryRC said on December 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Oh, that Fedorov-Kournikova matchup. It wasn’t so much that he was so old (early thirties), it was that she was so young. And he didn’t seem to realize that claiming that he was a friend of the family made it even creepier … like he was some pervy uncle that you never left the kids alone with.

    Wasn’t there a Fedorov-Kournikova-Pavel Bure triangle? And Fedorov claimed that he and Kournikova were married and she denied it …

    Head injuries have ruined so many promising hockey careers. Lindros, Kariya, Stevens, Lafontaine, Adam Deadmarsh, the list goes on. And the thugs who curtailed their careers get to keep playing.

  36. MarkH said on December 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Brian — Officer Bill Gannon. Perhaps mixing with William Conrad’s Frank Cannon? :)

  37. Deborah said on December 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Is anyone else out there experiencing SAD (seasonal affective disorder)? Basset mentions holiday-season depression, which is probably closely tied. I am having a case of SAD for sure, it doesn’t take much these dark, gloomy days to set my tears to running. When I read about Maggie Daley’s death here in Chicago over Thanksgiving it made me tear up and I have never met or even seen the woman before. My husband has a former student working for him and her mother passed away a few days ago, she said she died in her arms which set me off completely. In fact I’m getting a lump in my throat just thinking about it again. Julie, your video of your family members singing had me sobbing.

  38. coozledad said on December 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Good lord. Testicularly chinned Ivan Albright butter sculpture Newt Gingrich says he wants John Bolton at State.
    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/newt-i-will-nominate-john-bolton-for-secretary-of-state-video.php?ref=fpa
    Is he serious, or does he just want to nasty with Pam Geller?

  39. Connie said on December 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    The pantyhose over the vacuum works for finding contact lenses in a swimming pool too. And there are many cleaning product wipes that come in the same kind of container as shown for baby wipes. I was taught to fold fitted sheets the same way by the lady who worked at the laundromat on Broadway in Ann Arbor when I was in grad school. Love the sheets in the pillow case idea.

    Basset, my years of not sleeping due to knee pain were fixed by arthroscopic surgery. Now it’s arthritis which is not so easily fixable.

  40. Deborah said on December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    thanks for ruining Ivan Albright for me Coozledad. Now whenever I see his paintings at the Art Institute I will think of Gingrich.

  41. basset said on December 7, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Sue, I think you can see it in Wisconsin on some really obscure cable channel or maybe on satellite, will check… and I don’t know if this is a one-time deal or the start of a whole season, might find out tonight. Just finished a run of another show that involves some of the same people, so I am hopeful.

    Connie, I have had an ACL replaced and a bunch of cartilage repaired (basketball) and scoped years later to clean it up, but my “good” knee is giving more trouble this time. We’ll see, I guess.

    Never could fold fitted sheets.

  42. brian stouder said on December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Mark – Hah!!

    I started out referring to him as Joe Gannon – but then remembered that that Jack Webb played Joe Friday.

    I always got a kick out of the plain-Jane car they drove (a Ford Fairlane?)

  43. coozledad said on December 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Deborah: I’d forgotten his paintings were there. That’s where I saw them. I didn’t realize he did the picture of Dorian Gray until much later.

  44. Sue said on December 7, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Basset, yes, let me know. My son’s a big fisherman so I watch some of the shows that are on around here, as long as they put the fish back. Poor fishies. The shows we watch aren’t really narrated shows, mostly just guys out fishing. One local (WI) guy had Pabst Blue Ribbon as his sponsor for awhile – his shows were a riot to watch because I swear he never taped a show sober. He had a LOT of fun. Even these days when I don’t think he has a beer sponsor he’s always catching ‘slobosaurus’ fishes and there’s a lot of laughing and yelling.
    Deborah, I’m glad they take SAD seriously these days instead of just dismissing it as weepy lady time. I always get a little worse during winter.

  45. Catherine said on December 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    SAD people: 15 days until the solstice, thankfully Earth’s axis always tilts back.

  46. Kirk said on December 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    MaryRC @35: Todd Bertuzzi, who plays for those non-fighting Red Wings, should be in prison.

  47. Sue said on December 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Any thoughts?
    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/12/crystal_cox_oregon_blogger_isn.php

  48. Bob (not Greene) said on December 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Sue, I read that story just casually, but it would seem to me that the blogger in question made a fatal mistake — carrying water for an anonymous source and publishing allegations without apparently any proof whatsoever other than saying, “Oh, I got this info from someone inside the organization.”

    Without documentary evidence, you are completely screwed. I don’t think that the blogger/journalist distinction has anythig to do with the judge’s decision, and I don’t know how anyone can conclude that a journalist would have been treated any differently. When you publicly accuse someone of a crime, you better have proof or you are going to get sued and lose.

  49. brian stouder said on December 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Bob, I see your point, and it makes sense.

    But when the judge says this:

    although defendant is a self-proclaimed “investigative blogger” and defines herself as “media,” the record fails to show that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, book, pamphlet, news service, wire service, news or feature syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television system. Thus, she is not entitled to the protections of the law

    it sure looks like the lynch-pin of his thinking is not whether she can prove what she wrote, but instead whether she can be considered “media”….which frankly confuses me.

    Even if she can’t claim to be part of “the press” (to use the First Amendment term), still it is a freedom of speech issue, yes?

  50. moe99 said on December 7, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Read the additional article that the Crystal Cox article appends at the end:

    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2011/12/unlike_oregon_bloggers_are_jou.php

    The attorney, Bruce Johnson, is a friend of mine and a noted First Amendment attorney in Seattle.

  51. Bob (not Greene) said on December 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Well, I guess the judge is saying she can’t claim protection of the shield law. I guess I just don’t know exactly what she wrote. If anyone, “media” or not, makes claims that are defamatory, there isn’t a shield law in the world that is going to protect you anyway. I guess maybe this particular article was more concerned with a judge setting a defining line between “blogger” and “journalist,” but in my mind it shouldn’t make a difference if you are claiming things you can’t or won’t document.

    EDIT: This is from the article Moe linked to, which clarifies what I was getting at:

    “As for Cox, Johnson says that even if the court had ruled that she didn’t have to reveal her source, she likely still would have had to reveal the source if she wanted to prove her statements were true and therefore weren’t defamatory. In other words, the shield law, even if applied, might not have shielded Cox from the $2.5 million judgement she’s been ordered to hand over.”

  52. Julie Robinson said on December 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    There was an article about SAD a few days ago in the NYT; it was a good overview but if you can’t get past the pay wall I’d just google it.

    I’ve been aware that I have SAD since my college days and spent most winters in a sleepy, carb-eating, depressed haze. I tried anti-depressants to no avail, and six or seven years ago I bought a therapy light on Amazon.

    The light has made an amazing difference for me–I still hate the gray days but I’m functional now. I sit in front of it each morning for half an hour, eating breakfast, reading the paper, and reciting prayers. All you SAD sufferers, give it a try.

    BTW my mom and son both have the symptoms, but I haven’t talked them into using the light yet.

  53. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 7, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    If I say Bob (not Greene) is a liar and a scoundrel, I don’t see why the statement “and someone close to him is feeding me info in that regard” should protect me, journalist or not, from having to produce evidence of some sort to justify saying that, whether Bob (nG) is a business leader or political figure.

    Now, if I say Richard Cordray is a liar with an utter indifference to the impact of his false statements and cannot be trusted on matters small or large, he could sue me for defamation, and I could offer direct testimony as to the facts behind my assertion. And if he responded “what the gentleman claims is true, but I really wished it were otherwise” it wouldn’t and shouldn’t help his case. (Yes, I have issues with Mr. Cordray, lying sack of dung that he is.)

    I guess it comes back to something I heard at a college journalism conference from a grizzled print & radio reporter who had just come from the Billy Goat and was heading for the Pump Room, probably filing three stories in between: don’t trust and don’t wish for shield laws, because shield laws let government decide who is a journalist and who isn’t. Either the First Amendment is your defense, or you need to check your facts again before going to print. (Which leads back to the Clay Shirky note above: in the next decade, who’s to be called a journalist is going to be a mushy, amorphous question, and there’s no fixing that.)

  54. beb said on December 7, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Sorry to hear about Harry Morgan dying. At 96! I knew he had been around for a while, didn’t know it was that long. Good for him. I remember him from MASH. I must have watched some Dragnet and remember him from “Support Your Local Sherrif/Gunfighter. He was a great character actor.

    It seems obvious to me that football has become very dangerous to the health of any player but I have no idea how one coukd dial back violence without it becoming “not-football.”

    As for why fighting is tolerated in Hockey I suspect it’s the same reason people go to NASCAR races — to see dead bodies. Nothing else could explain why people would sit around for three hours watching identical cars traveling around a circular track.

  55. Sherri said on December 7, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    If you want to get around the NYTimes paywall, just edit the URL to remove everything from the ? on. Believe it or not, it’s that simple to get around.

  56. MarkH said on December 7, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Really, beb? Dead bodies is all they want to see? A significant contingent wanting to see crashes, I will grant you. But most actually thrive on the racing, as boring as I might find it to be as well.

  57. Dexter said on December 7, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Off on a tangent again, I just wanted to throw this in: I will watch any professional baseball game on TV…whether it’s West Coast or East, Florida teams or even teams from Denver or Kansas City, but I won’t watch any hockey game unless the Red Wings are playing.
    People say the mass appeal of the National Football League is that televiewers will watch any game. Not me. I’ll watch the Lions intently but other games will be on in the background while I do other things. Basketball commands my attention at times, but the only games I focus intently on are the Michigan Wolverines Mens’ games.
    I watch three horse races and two car races per year.
    Baseball is the only sport I develop a deep jones for soon after the season ends.
    I don’t think I am a sports nut. If I was uber-rich I’d fly to NYC once a month for a play weekend. But I ain’t and I don’t.
    There was a time I thought my dream job would be as a beat sportswriter , travelling with a major league baseball team.
    Now, I keep hearing what a pain in the ass the players are, and I am glad I never fell into a job like that.

    Here’s a nice interview with Pat Cooper, lots of F-bombs.
    http://youtu.be/6woLPD731qg

  58. del said on December 7, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Sue, I only read some of the Crystal Cox article (and some of the opinion). One of her blogs is called judicial hellhole. That could have been a factor… It will be interesting to see what happens on appeal. She should follow Moe’s friend’s advice and get that San Francisco outfit to take it up for her.

  59. Dexter said on December 8, 2011 at 12:42 am

    The Post has leaked the Lohan Playboy cover. I won’t be buying it. Lindsay Lohan is the world’s oldest, most haggard twenty-five year old in years. Anyway…if you’re interested-
    http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/lindsay_lohan_playboy_cover_leaks_3BB4bzRnojb6n5w3cLJxnN

  60. MaryRC said on December 8, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Kirk: Yes, and yet he plays while Steve Moore had to retire. It’s not over yet, though, since Moore is suing Bertuzzi for loss of income. The trial is due to start early next year. Let’s hope Moore does to Bertuzzi’s bank account what Bertuzzi did to his vertebrae.

  61. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 8, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Granting that Newt is a toad (attention, Department of Redundancy Department), I’m morbidly fascinated by what it says about the perception of the Obama Administration in general (not the man himself) that so many union Democrat people here in central Ohio are willing to lean, out loud, to Gingrich. It’s not a Tea Party/demonization of government thing at all — I’m talking about people who for the most part are themselves government employees, county or school — but a strong sense that we’re drifting, rudderless, and a Strong Man at the Helm is needed.

    I strongly dislike cheap references to fascism, and the easy equation of conservatism to the same (a friend of mine wrote a book about that a year and a half ago, in fact), but it is quite unpleasant to watch the oubilette swing open near our feet with this trend to Gingrich. It’s a working class desire to have clarity and strength, on public display, with an edge of the lash (always assumed to be reserved for “an Other.” It is very troubling, and trust me when I say I will continue doing all I can to keep this man off the public payroll any way I can.

    But by the same token, why is the White House team continuing to play this rope-a-dope game? A flailing attempt to channel Teddy Roosevelt, who got more fascist sounding the more progressive he got, and who funneled more national dysfunction than Wilson did (and reinforced Woodrow’s missteps), when he’s not even sure what state he’s speaking in (“hello, Texas!”) is not going to communicate any leadership strength at all. And isn’t.

    C’mon, Barry, step up to the plate and take some cuts.

  62. coozledad said on December 8, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Yeah. Too bad old Swinger Fulton is dead. Of course there’s the birth issues, and he’d have had to add a Nixon tattoo to his ass, but there was plenty of “clarity and strength” on display.

  63. Dorothy said on December 8, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Deborah I’m not usually in the habit of re-visiting this site after I go home from work, so I just now read your comment @ 37. I think I’m experiencing some of the same symptoms. At home hubby and I just call it “being in a funk.” I had not really thought about it possibly being SAD until I started reading yesterday’s comments thread. I was attributing it to my crummy feelings after the run-in with my coworker last Tuesday. But it’s more than that. I just feel like I have nothing much to look forward to. It’s work-work-work, then the weekends with laundry and dusting and maybe some fun time to sew, and trying to come up with some brilliant weekend meal ideas. Then the grind starts all over again. I’m also focusing on the impending engagement of my son to his girlfriend, whom we adore, so that will probably put some oomph into my spirits. In my efforts to break free of the funk I did go out last night and auditioned for a play. Since I was the only woman there to read for two parts I’m fairly confident I’ll be cast in the show (Lost in Yonkers). Rehearsals will be pretty frequent because the show opens the first weekend in February, and we perform every weekend that month.

    I wish we could get together for a girls’ lunch or something, Deb (and Julie, Jolene, LAMary, Nancy etc. – all you terrific folks). The stimulation and fun that would rise from that experience would chase ALL of our blues away, I’m certain!

  64. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 8, 2011 at 8:39 am

    It was a real jolt to my usual Anglophilia when I learned last year the Queen was making Ian Paisley a life peer, and he now sits in the House of Lords. First cousin to Oswald Moseley (in spirit), whose ghost I think we’re both evoking with Newt, or do I misread you, Coozledad? If Newt’s organizers start passing out brown t-shirts, I’d not even be surprised.

    But the idea that large amounts of the labor left is feeling the need for a Strong Man: I just don’t see how you blame that on FoxNews, or on Gingrich’s liberties with the truth. It’s a reaction to attempting to match up Romney & Obama in your mind as an electoral choice, and coming up with a strong sense that you’ve got two wonky, vaguely-above-the-fray technocrats, running on a series of minor quibbles over framing of the debate, while no one seems to be actually charting a course, let alone holding onto the tiller. Quartermaster’s mates Reid & McConnell don’t do anything to help that imagery. Gingrich is running up onto deck as a flabby Fletcher Christian, wheezing “to me, my hearties!” and heads are, at least for now, turning.

    Update: Good luck, Dorothy — I think stagelighting is a good therapy for SAD, almost as good as the visors from that episode of “Northern Exposure.”

  65. del said on December 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Jeff, your comment about caliban yesterday morning was maybe a little too snarky IMHO.

  66. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 8, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Snarky? I actually did think it was someone working out a character. Not snarky, just somewhat disbelieving. But someone asked me “have you ever lived with a heavy drinker in your house, as a kid or an adult?” Caliban has been painfully candid with us about his drinking and its likely effect on him in the long run, and we all find ways to say we’d like him to have a long run, and many more interesting disagreements.

    No snark intended, anyhow.

  67. Dexter said on December 8, 2011 at 9:00 am

    There is no death-date outside of my parents’ that I wake up to like I do on this date, full alert, no cobwebs in my head, no…it’s December 8th, and I know I am heading straight to YouTube and Iceberg Radio and i-Tunes for the morning. There is no day except 9-11 I remember like December 8, 1980 where I can recall almost every movement I made the entire day, from the radio report, the talking with work friends, and the immediate post-work drive down I-69 to a record store in Time Corners, Fort Wayne, where I bought a vinyl “White Album”.
    John Lennon, murdered, December 8, 1980.
    http://youtu.be/qp9dc9im3-M

  68. Julie Robinson said on December 8, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Dorothy, I think you have the right idea by breaking out of the hum-drum of daily life in a show. I am really looking forward to a Christmas party with some girlfriends tonight, and I think you’d fit in great with our little group. We have a competition to see who can come up with the worst white elephant gift each year. But I cannot stress enough was a difference the therapy light has made for me.

  69. Dorothy said on December 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I might look into that Julie. Thanks for saying I’d fit in – I wish the distance between us was not as great as it is! But I maintain SOME summer day/weekend Mike and I are going on a little jaunt and we’ll meet up. It just feels necessary to me!!

    And I have a really great white elephant gift for our office party on the 16th – a big ol’ box of recipe cards from some food company that Aunt Dolores gave us this past year. I think it’s from the mid to late 60’s. It just screamed white elephant from me at first glance at the god-awful recipes. Lots of meat-jello combinations that just make me want to hurl!

  70. del said on December 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Jeff. Because of my work schedule I often miss the comments that provide the backstory.

  71. Brandon said on December 15, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    “Tom & Lorenzo take on a few of the truly astonishing outfits worn to the premiere of ‘W.E.’, the new Madonna movie, which I am PISSED has not dropped a trailer yet, so I can laugh and mock it. Oh, no, wait: It has. And it looks just about as awful as promised. That Madonna — so transgressive!”–Nancy

    Nancy, have you always disliked Madonna or just her recent stuff? As a longtime Madonna fan, even I find she’s become too mannered over the past decade.