The digital grind.

Man, if you’re an editor? You don’t get paid enough money. I’m covering for my vacationing boss this week, and I’m just amazed at how much a modern editor has to think about. Content, of course, but also: Photos. Headlines. Tags. Scheduling and placement. Links. Where everything goes. It calls on a whole different set of skills, and if they’re rusty, well, in today’s world you can squeak “oil can” through your clenched jaw all day, and no one will hear you.

And did I mention I’m half-blind? Things are finally, slowly starting to resolve themselves in the ol’ eyeball, and the extra vision is yet another thing to get used to — the increased definition is almost worse than last week’s total blurrification. But of course, improvement is welcome.

And then this afternoon, another bike ride — faster this time. A hot sweaty mess when I got home, but hot sweaty mess means a lukewarm shower and a small scoop of ice cream for dessert.

We’re having a busy week anyway. Bridge has a new partnership with the Free Press, and it launched today with a couple of stories I’d be interested in anyone’s thoughts on. My colleague Ron had to be in California to accept an award, so we sent him down to Vallejo and Stockton, the largest cities in the U.S. to declare bankruptcy — so far. Detroit’s Chapter 9 filing is seen as a foregone conclusion, so that’s the angle for us. Californians? Thoughts?

(I think I swapped the links there — the Stockton story is linked to Vallejo above, and vice versa. But the first link is the main story, so you can start there.)

And with that, we are into the bloggage, I guess.

Frank Bruni isn’t my favorite writer by a long shot, but even when you strip away all the Bruni from this story out of Columbus, just the bare facts are infuriating: A gym teacher at a Catholic high school in Columbus, fired after her mother’s obituary mentioned her female life partner among the survivors. A parent dimed her out — anonymously — and that was that. I hope she sues, I hope she wins, and I hope she crushes that place like Godzilla.

A funny story out of Tampa on one of those sovereign-citizen types.

Finally, a slide show, via Hank: The Naval Academy plebes, for their final act of plebe year, climb a spire on campus that has been coated with grease. Yes, shirtless young men climbing a greased obelisk-like structure. Great pix.

Oh, so tired I am. Guess where I’m going?

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Detroit life |

65 responses to “The digital grind.”

  1. Brandon said on May 22, 2013 at 4:06 am

    Frank Bruni isn’t my favorite writer by a long shot, but even when you strip away all the Bruni….

    We know you don’t like Mitch Albom, and why, but what is it about Frank Bruni you don’t like? Wasn’t he a restaurant critic?

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    • nancy said on May 22, 2013 at 7:54 am

      I don’t actively dislike him, but I think he’s a lot of pretty prose with not much inside. The column he did about the abortion provider struck me as absolute, total bullshit, and I’m surprised he didn’t get called on it. He did, but only by right-to-lifers and Gawker. Which meant it didn’t count.

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  2. Basset said on May 22, 2013 at 7:06 am

    You can have any opinion about Bruni you want, just don’t mess with Jim Morrison.

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  3. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I don’t care what your church, company, or college policy is: this was a disastrously handled personnel matter for the Diocese of Columbus. When your proximate cause was an obituary for the teacher’s mother, and the reporting mechanism was an anonymous parent letter, someone should have had the common sense, let alone decency, to say “Whoa. We need to handle this differently than we would with a new hire saying three weeks into the school year ‘oh, by the way, I’m gay, forgot to mention that in the interview, my bad’ and cutting them loose in a flash.”

    At my church, an anonymous note is treated as it deserves: filed under the name of the submitter. Zero name equals round file. Of course, we don’t care if you’re gay, either.

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  4. Dorothy said on May 22, 2013 at 7:48 am

    The fired teacher story is not the only reason why I’m struggling these days with my Catholicism. I refused to re-pledge for the Bishop’s Annual Appeal and stood firm with my husband when he tried to argue (weakly) about the good it would do for the diocese. I’ll contribute directly to my church every month but I’m not giving anything to the Bishop who authorized this heartless firing. And I’d welcome the chance to discuss it with my pastor if he ever asks me about it.

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  5. alex said on May 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Our Catholic diocese fired a teacher when it was learned that she’d tried in vitro fertilization. This knowledge had been accepted quite matter-of-factly by her colleagues, who wished her the best, but when word made it up the food chain, she got shitcanned. She and her husband then filed a lawsuit. Bishop Rhoades, in interviews with the media, was foaming at the mouth with the sort of moral outrage that should be reserved for pedophile priests.

    These sorts of firings are selective. The Catholic schools don’t seem to have any qualms about employing teachers who are divorced or who obviously practice birth control. I guess the only thing that’s consistent about Catholic teaching is that it’s a bundle of contradictions. Glad I wasn’t born into it. Life is confusing enough as it is.

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    • nancy said on May 22, 2013 at 8:15 am

      You can be divorced and teach at a Catholic school. What you can’t be is divorced and remarried, at least not unless you’ve gotten a Catholic divorce, i.e., annulment, or at least applied for one. Yeah, that in-vitro thing was infuriating, too. Screw the whole lot of ’em, I say. They want a smaller, purer church? They’re getting one.

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  6. brian stouder said on May 22, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Jeff – amen; and you GO, man!!

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  7. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I’ve got some sympathy for that Bruce Hicks guy. One day you’re all growed up into a yard gnome, and you understand, finally, that reality will never be on your side.
    Some folks just take this a little harder than others.

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  8. Heather said on May 22, 2013 at 8:35 am

    So, let me get this straight: according to the Church same-sex partners are a firing offense, unless they are children, in which case they’ll cover for you. Got it.

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  9. Kath said on May 22, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Checking the family obituaries of potential and current employees seems to be the new standard operating procedure for the Catholic Church if this story is any indication. Also, if you have another man’s name listed after yours in your father’s obituary and then deny that you are gay, you are exactly the kind of self-hating closet case that the Catholic Church wants. I don’t understand why they didn’t hire him.

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  10. brian stouder said on May 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I didn’t understand Cooz’s roaming gnome comment, until I read Nancy’s Tamp funny-story link.

    One look at the guy’s mug-shot, and you will be laughing, too!

    I think he actually puts effort into that somewhat flowing white beard.

    My question about these ‘sovereign citizen’ types, who think they can ignore abstractions like governments and laws would be – what would they do to an armed stranger who trespasses on their property?

    If that guy’s theory of human relations was consistent, he should have expected the policeman to simply kill him.

    ‘Course, given the required amount of loopiness to be a ‘sovereign citizen’ in the first place, I suppose such a discussion would be a fool’s errand to begin with.

    And THIS is yet another example of why ‘background checks’ are needed, before some chucklehead buys a shootin’ iron (and for once, I did not digress!)

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  11. Charlotte said on May 22, 2013 at 10:17 am

    We have some issues with the sovereign types out here — former state rep just went to trial for blowing through a roadblock during a fire last year. He claimed all sorts of sovereign crap, including that the court was illegitimate because it wasn’t bonded by the Queen of England (wait? didn’t we have a war about that?). We had another one busted with a car full of weapons, and a license plate he made himself — called himself The Pontiff. He’s Pontiffing from prison now (also pulled that scam where he moved into an empty house and sold it as his own).

    Speaking of the One True — did you see the story out of Paris? Rightwinger shot himself at the altar in Notre Dame to protest the “sin” of gay marriage. Seems to have forgotten that suicide’s a mortal — welcome to the downstairs room?

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  12. Kirk said on May 22, 2013 at 10:18 am

    A friend of mine who has kids in another Columbus Roman Catholic school says there are gay teachers there, and one has a pic of her partner on her desk. I guess it’s OK unless you’re anonymously called out.

    The church did itself no favors by arrogantly refusing to comment until the bishop was aroused from his slumber to realize that a genuine shitstorm had erupted.

    The Dispatch has been reporting this thoroughly, leading to all the tired accusations of the newspaper’s being “anti-Catholic” and the rest of that horseshit. The editor of the paper, by the way, is a Catholic.

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  13. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Charlotte: If only some more of the right’s pseudohistorians would take that principled step. I understand Niall Fergusson has similar issues with gay economists. He can fix himself right up.

    At a certain point in your life, you realize suicide as political theatre is a couple of steps below ripping your clothes off and having a big ol’ hippie fuckpile on the steps of the general assembly; if what you’re looking for is eyes, anyway.

    But what else can you expect from the folks who gave us Franco and Pinochet. They don’t get people.

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  14. adrianne said on May 22, 2013 at 10:47 am

    Yeah, when you report the insanity that is the Catholic Church these days, you’re automatically “anti-Catholic.” Screw you, and the horse you rode in on, I say.

    The sovereigns are a scary bunch, once you get past the comical aspects of their existence. In Ulster County, they filed liens and lawsuits against a number of public officials, including a local town judge who was so wigged out by their threats that he upped security in the courtroom. Luckily, the leading local sovereigns are all in the federal pen now, after an alert prosecutor took note of their antics.

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  15. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Chuck Todd bequeathes his face-pussy to the Republicans. FPFF!:–1?ref=fpb

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  16. brian stouder said on May 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Cooz –

    1.what is fpff?

    2. I still have to say – regarding the slings and arrows being flung at the administration – all of it strikes me as bullshit EXCEPT the (now apparently widening) press-related one. In any question or comparison regarding the gov versus the press, I absolutely defend the free press, period…including the liars and charlatans at Fox, and the oxy-morons on the radio, and the nimrod minions on the internet. President Obama’s administration’s actions toward the press trouble me greatly…AND –

    3. the shit-for-brains Republigoons don’t have shit to say about this, given their incessant attacks on the “main-stream meeedia”.

    We’ll see how this plays out, this summer. I guess this is the greasy, spinning, you-could-lose-an-arm kinetic part of big-league national (and international) politics, and it may well be inevitable; but I don’t like it.

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  17. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Face Pussy Friends Forever!

    Here’s where old Chuck Todd and Bill Keller and all the other sacks who polished Bushes cods for liberty are headed: Ambulance chasers for Jeebus.

    The kids who shit themselves on the schoolbus? That’s Chucky, Wolfram, and Billy.

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  18. MarkH said on May 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    coozledad, if you don’t see what’s going on here, you’re not one fourth as smart as you want everyone to think you are. Yeah, we sure hate us some Fox News around here, and as long as they are the target of a new administration-declared war on the first amendment, well that’s just ducky, ain’t it. The DOJ has actually labeled James Rosen as a co-conspiritor, due process be damned, in the leak which was the subject of his story three years ago. This scandal (and that’s what it is) has actually lost the administration the support of some of its best friends in the media: Eugene Robinson and Dana Milbank, not to mention the NYT editorial page:

    And the number is growing. Clearly, if Obama and Holder have lost Robinson on this one (and there are others if you scour the major dailies) we’d all better look out.

    Question to all you journos out there, and I’m talking to you, Nancy, Jeff Borden, paddyo’, adrianne, BobNG, Kirk, among others: Why the raucous silence on this clear trashing of the constitution?

    Staying silent just because it’s Fox in the crosshairs means it’s only a matter of time before they come after all the rest. Why is Stouder the only one speaking up on this?

    (I know how you feel about excesive links, Nance; my apologies.)

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  19. Heather said on May 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    BTW Nancy, I’m covering for a boss on vacation too, and you could not pay me to do his job. It’s more management stuff, but there’s a reason I don’t want to get into management: absolutely cannot deal with the politics. Just because your project is a priority for you doesn’t mean it’s a priority for our department, pal.

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  20. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    MarK H I’m still waiting on you to break your silence about ABC’s Jon Karl being duped by an as yet unnamed Republican whose interpretation of the benghazi emails was going to bring this administration down, down, down
    But that’s pointless isn’t it. You’ve been sold and are going to stay sold.

    Oh, and that NYT editorial page, (whose notables include Republican treason queefer judith Miller) Didn’t they have something to do with cheerleading for the biggest military fuckup in US history (next to a bunch of backy chewing apes shelling a federal military installation in South Carolina)?

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  21. alex said on May 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    Criminalizing journalism? That’s elevating Fox well above its station. (As overheated rhetoric goes, it’s certainly worthy of Fox. Maybe Chuck Todd ought to go ply his demagogic talents in their newsroom instead.)

    Brian, regarding President Obama’s supposed actions toward the press, I may be a liberal and a former journalist but I’m not a kneejerk fool who marches in lockstep with people going into hysterics just because we have those things in common. If you want to understand where I’m coming from, I suggest you read this debate between jurist Eric Posner and journalist Emily Bazelon. (I’m in agreement with the former, and I think you’ll note that the latter’s boilerplate objections wither under examination.)

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  22. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Republicans got the phone companies to hand over phone records without subpeonas, (see ‘Total Information Awareness” “Unitary Executive”) and there was nary a whimper from the dooky drawers.

    These are the same people who are screaming that we need to keep gitmo because “we can redefine torture so it doesn’t include shit we want to do to brown people”.

    If people treat you as though your inconsistent protests are beneath consideration, it’s because
    1. Your people shit this bed
    2. You had no problem lying in it when it was Bush’s shit.

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  23. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    With all of this comment about the moronic behavior of the Diocese of Columbus, let me express my extreme surprise that there hasn’t been a hubbub here about the FLA case involving the teenager that has been expelled and arrested for having a relationship with a younger classmate of the same sex, undoubtedly instigated by call and whisper campaign incited by the younger girl’s parents that waited until the older girl was 18 so she could be charged as a sexual predator. Way to show your love and concern for your daughter’s welfare, assholes. Send her off to Jesus Camp or Marcus Bachmann yet. Pray away that gay.

    My Catholicism has little to do with that sort of Church intransigence, and unlike the modern Lords of the Church, I tend to go to Augustine and Aquinas, as well as modern process theologians for understanding. Makes for a less judgemental brand. And the willingness of some to claim anti-Catholicism at every instance of criticism, one can’t, in reality, deny such exists. I mean, there is being anti-semitic and there is anti-Israel. I’m decidedly the latter (it’s the definition of a rogue state and state terrorist), and not remotely the former. I think in the long run, charlatan psychologist’s, phony repressed memory and profiteering will prove to have been part of the great clergy pedophile witch hunt, and I’d imagine, similar instance of abuse will turn up in other denominations. I know I was a target of attempted predation at a Babdiss daycamp in Memphis when I was a kid, as was one of my brothers.

    If folks at AP wants to whine about protecting sources, they should verify what their “sources” are telling them and not allow themselves to be abused like rented mules into publishing total bullshit like the “Misedited” Benghazi emails, one of which had exactly eight words in common with the real thing the “source” was “reciting” from. Only an idiot wouldn’t wonder whether this insouciant naivete on the part of the AP people wasn’t agressive. And the next press ahole that uses the term “spying” in this context of legal subpoenas for records should be castrated or get a bullet in the vagina. And is that loony in jail yet, and does he have a CCW permit. And “edited” or not, if those emails are classified, which they likely are, the GOPer fabulists should be tracked down like rabid curs and face the law.

    Maybe those gnomes aren’t roaming but running away.

    Americans are showing some rare common sense about the manufactured slime:

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  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Being a bundle of contradictions myself, I’m loathe to throw too many sharp pointed objects at houses of glass, granite, or otherwise. But anti-Catholicism does seem to be the last acceptable bias in both the academy and in my own collegial ranks; I’m regularly amazed at the kinds of stuff that senior and respected clergy in my own tradition will casually say about priests, the Vatican, and Catholics in general. You can say they’ve earned the opprobrium all you want: there’s not a major ecclesial body that can claim to have clean hands from back in the 50s thru the 90s. None. The Catholic problem has more to do with size, and visibility — if one in a thousand priests is a molester, and you have 300,000 priests, you have 300 cases on display. If my tradition has 3,000 clergy, you have three. Same level of incident, but the odds of the 300 cases hitting the benchmarks for major media coverage is obviously way higher than any of the three becoming more than a one day, page seven story.

    Catholic priests are no better, and no worse than any other group of clergy I’ve worked alongside of. Make of that what you will . . . I’d like to think we’re all trying a little harder and doing better in walking the line, but the reality is that we divorce and fornicate and inebriate and fail at roughly the same rates as our congregation members as a whole.

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  25. Sherri said on May 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Speaking of Catholics, why is Rahm Emanuel proposing to build a taxpayer-funded arena for (private Catholic) DePaul University?

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  26. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Re: Mr. Bruce “Gnome Alone” Hicks — I don’t find him an exemplar of politics of any wing. He’s got lots of company in the growing cohort of people whose mistrust of authority has gone over a line, a line that has quite a few points that line up where I stand, but which isn’t seen as connected from other points of view. People I know who are very intelligent, seem quite informed in many ways about science, who are utterly convinced that childhood immunizations aren’t just causing autism, but are killing kids. Families bankrupting themselves to get into school districts which offer only a marginal improvement in their college prospects for kids who aren’t going to get into the regional branch campus even if you sent them to Eton for high school, who then declaim for years how their child was excluded by an evil cabal of elitist [insert group not approved of here]. People moving out into the countryside for the unironic reason self-stated “so I can burn trash when I want” and/or “to get away from that d4mn zoning” who then set up in an already decaying homestead they have no skills and less funds to maintain, and the weeds slowly push up all around the non-functioning Case IH tractor in the side yard. Homeschoolers who have more issues with social anxiety for the parent than they actually do with the curriculum. Fleamarkets and long running garage sales where an off-books economy includes guns, beyond expiration prescription meds, and homemade porn (all of which you have to ask for at the cash table, even as the piles of childrens’ clothes flutter on the tables in the breeze). Elderly men nursing the senior coffee and ice cream at McD’s with their InfoWars print outs on the table, happy to inveigh against the malefactors who detonated the World Trade Center from within, and have already suborned the builders of the new Freedom Tower to pre-install demolition charges for a 9-11×2. Heavily tattooed men whose every economic decision is shaped by staying “off line” so their five-figure past due child support bill doesn’t catch up with them, as they wander through the economy with their latest fiance and her four kids (two of which are his, maybe; they’re not sure about kid number three – they’d broken up for a few weeks, and she went clubbing, but it’s no big deal).

    A sovereign citizen blends right into that background to my eyes; lots of gnomes and many more colorful concrete figurines in that yard.

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  27. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    And IRS-Lady Lois Lerner is not a political appointee, and has been there since years before Obama. So that taking the 5th is another dead horse.

    The Catholic problem has more to do with size, and visibility

    And with the misperception that the Church in America is rich or somehow shares the wealth of the Vatican. American parishes are shuttered or bankrupted weekly for lack of funds. If Americans want to sue a rich church, they should sue the Babdiss Church over the predations of Youth Ministers. I can tell you from experience that’s the real deal. I suspect accusations are simply papered over with ATM receipts.

    Sergio Garcia puts his eye out, certifies dickitude once and for all:

    I see your point Sherri, but all of the economic arguments for any state or municipality funding stadiums and arenas for professional ballclubs can be made for building an arena for DePaul. Why should Robert Kraft or Arthur Blank get public aid to build stadiums? DePaul hoops is undoubtedly a major economic engine and job provider in Chicago. Let Mark Aguirre pick up the tab. Man, I dislike DePaul hoops almost on a Carolina level.

    Stephen Fry is the sole guest on Craig Ferguson tonight. That promises to be pretty damned funny: Pomposity vs. the Skewer.

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  28. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm

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  29. Sherri said on May 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    Jeff(tmmo), I reserve any anti-Catholic feelings I harbor not for the members of the laity or the clergy, but for the members of the hierarchy who made (and in some cases, continue to make) a concerted effort to protect the organization at the expense of those they supposedly serve. I don’t pretend that the Catholic church is unique in this regard, just more obvious odious about it right now.

    I also have a big problem with the way Catholic hospitals are spreading and taking over secular hospitals, with the concomitant rules about what constitutes proper care in the realm of reproductive medicine and end of life care. I just picked up the paper yesterday to discover that UW Medicine has signed a “strategic affiliation” with PeaceHealth, a Catholic healthcare system. UW Medicine receives taxpayer support, operates the largest trauma center in the area, the medical school, and the clinic where my doctor works. Allegedly, the pact allows for separate operations, but in the past, similar pacts have resulted in Catholic policies being implemented across the board. I’ve been explicit in a living will about what sorts of measures I don’t want done to me; I’m not very happy that the only major trauma center near me might not respect my wishes because they have different beliefs about the sanctity of life.

    This is why I believe in government; we work out, through politics, the conflicts in our values and come to an answer, however flawed and messy. Private companies, however high-minded, just ignore those conflicts and impose their own values.

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  30. Sherri said on May 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Pros, there aren’t many good economic arguments for funding arenas for professional teams with taxpayer money, but at least an NBA team will play ~80 games a year in an arena. A college team will play more like 15. A pro football team will only play ~10 (counting preseason games), but will draw ~50K/game. DePaul, in a wildly successful year the likes of which they haven’t seen since Aguirre, might draw 15K/game. Those weak economic arguments for a pro team fade away into nothingness for a private college team.

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  31. Bitter Scribe said on May 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    What makes me even madder than the Catholic-teacher thing is that Florida girl who got kicked off the basketball team and is facing criminal prosecution because she’s in a relationship with another girl. The prosecutor is pretending that he’s just fairly applying the statutory-rape law, no gay-bashing here, no siree.

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  32. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Agreed, Sherri. I’m just pointing out the arguments that will surely be made, not saying they hold water.

    It’s highly unlikely that the Diocese of Columbus has more than lint in its pockets and moths in it’s pocketbook, and surely not enough money to induce a lawyer to sue them. A civil rights lawyer, sure, but the net result will be nada.

    The sovereign citizen types remind me of a radical rabble-rouser on the Holy Cross campus back in ’69, named Marty something or other. Marty’s favorite rhetorical trope was: If you shoot at me, I will deny the existence of that bullet.” How the hell did Brucistan get ahold of that weapon? I’m betting on gunshow in the next country over. You know, the one that has a leegislature that won’t pass responsible gun laws, despite the fact the electorate favors such laws 9-1.

    Cooze@13: Let’s not forget that Raygun was as responsible for Pinochet as anyone. Nixon and Kissinger, too. On the business of US interference in Ca and SA politics during the the last 22 or so years of GOPer presidential misAdministration, I’d recommend Graham Greene’s Getting to Know the General. Tremendously affecting and beautifully written account of Greene’s somewhat improbable friendship with Omar Torrijos. One of my favorite books. I think of the US murder of Torrijos every time I see some right-winger yack about Awlaki’s American citizenship. Seems to me moving to Yemen and joining Al Quaeda is a pretty unmistakable renunciation of citizenship. None of these idealogues had any problem with the federal government causing the deaths of Torrijos and Allende.

    Those gay predators:

    Expelled and formally charged as a sex offender.

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  33. beb said on May 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    I don’t think the problem with the Catholic church is that there are more priests and therefor their pedophile problem is more visible. The problem seems to be that there have been too many higher-ups – Cardinals and such – whose sole response to predator priests has been to deny, hide and cover-up the problem. The attitude of the hierarchy seems to be to protect the priest no matter how guilty they are. The flock they are supposed to be leading to salvation… no so much.

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  34. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Regarding Bruce Hicks, Sovereign Citizen: More proof that FLA to funny for anybody but Mel Brooks AND Carl Reiner to make up. That guy goes to Gators games in jorts, no doubt about it.

    And I really do wonder how he came to have a gun. And why didn’t they stop him at the border.

    This might be worth a train trip up to Washington. Were I the curator, I would have made it a double feature and included Walt Kelly.

    This accusation was a scam, straight up. Ironically, the con was uncovered by the grifter’s own lawyers.

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  35. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    beb, my point carries through to claim that hierarchies are chronically in-group protection mechanisms. And my own has done so for its own kind no less heartlessly than Bernard Law or Rembert Weakland, but they don’t have to worry about getting national media coverage at any point for their malfeasance. But Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, or Church of Academia, there’s a strong tendency for those who’ve gotten in to be protected and enabled by those already in.

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  36. paddyo' said on May 22, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    What beb @35 said . . .

    My, what a great day: Two of my favorite topics (The RCChurch and press freedom).

    Going back to MarkH’s @20 call-out to us present and former newsies (I’m in the latter number) for our supposed silence, I’ll offer the lame excuse that, well, I haven’t spent much time here the past couple of weeks and so this was the first I’d seen commentary on the FoxNews reporter’s being accused of conspiracy or aiding-and-abetting or whatever the formal charge.

    So FWIW (and I’m a liberal ex-reporter, like Alex @ 23 says he is), I too think the charge is unwarranted and it makes no difference to me whether he’s from Fox or not. (Nor, Mark, do I think the Fox connection is why some of us haven’t spoken up or out here. Sometimes there’s just too much else to occupy all of one’s outrage, and the past couple of weeks qualify.)
    Anyway, there’s an old-school word used often in the past about this kind of threat to the press and press freedom: “chilling.” And this one, as well as the broad and unfettered delving into the AP phone records, IS.

    At the same time, I’m with Alex on the notion that not every leak and every decision to publish gets a pass. I read the debate on that he linked to above @23, and I agree: The jurist Posner is the winner, at least on points, in that debate.

    But drilling even deeper down into that point-counterpoint debate, I also read the 2008 “Secrecy and Safety” piece/review that Posner linked to about NYT reporter Lichtblau’s book.
    And when that author (Jack Goldsmith) had finished woodshedding Lichtblau and the NYT, I found the last few paragraphs of his review most instructive about what I think is the root problem to all of this: Excessive government secrecy. The obessive over-classifying of information in our government has become so beyond the pale that the news media and leakers have to be forgiven, at least in part, for harping on what is routinely kept from the vast rest of us for the supposed sake of “national security.”

    I am all for applying the TOP SECRET stamp in cases that truly need it, and for holding accountable those who would reveal it in truly damaging ways. But the culture of government secrecy is now so pervasive (I have encountered truly petty, minor and ridiculous instances of it regularly in my five-and-counting post-newspaper years as a federal public affairs guy) that it’s hard not to be cynical and suspicious.

    Justice may have good reasons for going after those who leaked to the AP and Fox, but that doesn’t give it license to bypass standard judicial checks and balances (the AP secret subpoenas case) or target a reporter for doing his job.

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  37. Suzanne said on May 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    There were a number of those “I’m my own sovereign nation” guys in my neck of the woods about 10 years ago or so. I think one even went to court to get out of some tax or ticket or something and, of course, lost. They are pretty quiet now.

    I guess being your own nation would be pretty cool until your house caught fire, or the neighboring sovereign nation with 8 big ugly gun totin’ sons that formed an army came to take your land and you realized that you had no protection.

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  38. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Sorry ’bout the three links, the Walt Kelly Herblock connection occcurred to me after the fact.

    82% of Americans think Social Security payments should be raised, not cut. One more reason GOPers are FUBARed no matter what sort of asinine slime they manufacture.

    As far as classifying in excess, there was a time that Shrubco was classifying documents at the rate of 2million pp. of government documents per minute and had no qualms whatever about going after anybody it felt was encroaching on the classifications. Shrubco was also responsible for inventing the legal maneuvers and mechanics for exactly what GOPers are currently hyperventilating about. Calling the AP subpoenas or anything else that the Administration has done spying is ridiculously inflammatory, and thanks to Shrubco, none of it is illegal or extra-legal, whatever the difference is supposed to be.. Calling the assholes on the GOPer side that bastardized the Benghazi emails sources is purely a joke and heads should roll at AP for getting used like a screwdriver by some lying sacks of partisan shit.

    This has gotten downright Mosaic. It’s all about whose ox is claimed to have been gored. To deny that every aspect of this current nonsense is being kept afloat by misrepresentaions and outright lies is simply naive or seriously dishonest.

    I don’t see anything chilling going on. Who’s been chilled?

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  39. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Barnes and Noble offer for kids’ summer reading.

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  40. LAMary said on May 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I know a Catholic hospital company based in Washington joined Swedish Health in Washington, but has not changed the women’s health care services there.

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  41. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    AP sure as shit wasn’t “chilled” when they went right ahead and put no effort into any sort of verification of the bullshit bowdlerized Benghazi emails, were they. If they thought they were some how a target of the White House, publishing that rank propaganda without checking its veridity would be just fracking dumb as grunt. Right? And a “source” you could easily prove to be a flagrant Ananais Club-worthy liar isn’t really a source, especially when you make no effort to verify legitimacy. As for the scumbag creeps that did the dirty work, I hope they broke some laws and are caught and prosecuted.

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  42. Bitter Scribe said on May 22, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Prospero, you’re seriously confused. The AP subpoenas were not related in any way to the “bullshit bowdlerized Benghazi emails,” which were leaked to ABC News, not AP. The AP kerfuffle is over their (accurate) reporting on a thwarted al-Qaeda terror plot and some other matters. Get your facts straight before you get your panties in a bunch.

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  43. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    Not at all what I said, Scribe. I said AP was clearly not feeling cowed or “chilled” when they committed that bullshit, a reference to paddyo’s comment just above. It’s also quite clear to me that a phony propaganda bunch like Fox damages freedom of the press when it claims, and gets away with the claim, that it was the victim of an assault on the 1st Amendment, far more than anything this Administration has done. But I’m sure Ailes and the Fox liars would just as soon drown journalism in a bathtub.

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  44. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Entertaining feature about American movies at Cannes, with lots of video and some real surprises. They liked Bad Santa? What? Billy Bob as heir to Jerry Lewis?

    If there is anything unclear about my comment @41, I can’t figure out what it is. I mean for a news organization to be “chilled” requires previous action by the government in a case like this. Right? The subpoenas didn’t prevent AP from participating, intentionally or as dupes, in a GOPer disinformation campaign. My inference is that the subpoenas had no effect on AP’s (bad or incompetent) behavior.

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  45. Bitter Scribe said on May 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Prospero, again, what the hell are you frothing about? The AP did not participate in any “GOPer disinformation campaign.” Those inaccurately transcribed Benghazi e-mails were leaked to ABC News.

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  46. Kirk said on May 22, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    First I’ve seen about the administration vs. Fox reporter, too, but, like the administration’s spying on AP phone records, it’s Nixonian. And anyone who knows me knows that that’s a serious indictment.

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  47. paddyo' said on May 22, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    And for what it’s worth, Pros’, my context about the “chilling effect” was that Justice’s behavior — charging the Fox reporter and rooting around in AP reporters’ phone records — has the potential to “chill” sources from coming forward in the future and to “chill” some news organizations from digging further. It’s all potential, but a potentially powerful deterrent nonetheless. It is why shield laws exist (imperfect though they may be) and why traditionally, at least, the news media have been considered a “fourth estate” of American public life and policy, on an unofficial and kind of rough par with branches of government.

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  48. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    My mistake. Sorry, thought I heard AP from the TeeVee in the next room while making Bolognese. None of this idiocy is worthy of reading time. Doesn’t alter my contention that claims of intimidation against the news community are naive alarmism or deliberate and disingenuous propaganda from people that would wipe out the 1st Amendment if they thought they could get away with it. The same people that originated this line of nonsense also claim that the Lois Lerner is some sort of stealth agent for the Administration. And if I were trying to disseminate nonsense, I’d go to AP rather than ABCNews. Instant 1400 papers. Unless I had a fellow traveller at ABCNews and knew it would be easy.

    Just revise what I said @43 to:
    ABCNews was clearly not feeling cowed or “chilled” when they committed that bullshit, a reference to paddyo’s comment just above. It’s also quite clear to me that a phony propaganda bunch like Fox damages freedom of the press when it claims, and gets away with the claim, that it was the victim of an assault on the 1st Amendment, far more than anything this Administration has done. But I’m sure Ailes and the Fox liars would just as soon drown journalism in a bathtub, anyway.

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  49. Prospero said on May 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Paddyo’: I haven’t been a working journalist since 1975-76, when I worked as a reporter for a Boston local news anchor. But I went to JSchool during Watergate and I’m well aware of the issues. I simply don’t see a scintilla of evidence that anyone in the news world community has been intimidated in the slightest, and I find right-wing handwringing over the 1st Amendment offensive as hell, when the bastards would like to ditch it.

    Kirk, they are using Bushco era laws and regulations to acquire subpoenas. Can’t see how that is spying, and without knowing anything about what they are looking for, nobody can comment on the legitimacy of the action, neither fairly nor intelligently.

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  50. Sherri said on May 22, 2013 at 9:09 pm

    More examples of multinationals using Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich techniques to move income from their intellectual property around to avoid paying taxes anywhere:

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  51. alex said on May 22, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    The way the press knuckled under to the Bush administration post-9/11, I lost any affinity that I ever felt for it. My idealism was shattered by the cravenness of the journalistic community at that juncture. And that’s why I find its unified front in this instance just as questionable—especially when the president isn’t someone whom they fear and loathe but rather more trust and consider benign and harmless, and therefore easier to attack without any fear of reprisal despite all of their frenzy about the AP and the dweeb from Fox.

    I don’t purport to have been a daily newspaper reporter save for my first week and a half out of college in 1985 at a small-town rag. The publisher, who had up to that point praised all of my efforts, called me in one day and informed me that I’d been snitched out as a fag and that I needed to leave the premises immediately. I had no recourse at the time. The last thing I wanted to do was draw attention to myself over something that would earn me no sympathy and much scorn, so I skulked away as they bade me.

    From there I went to work as a publishing house copy editor and alt-weekly contributor. From there I was lured away by the marketing biz, where taking tremendous liberties with the truth was the name of the game and was rewarded with far better pay. These days I’m a paralegal whose reporting and writing skills are highly prized and I daresay make me second to none in my community.

    I’m sure some of you will have to pardon me for saying so, and more than likely won’t, but I think the comparisons of Obama to Nixon are as apt as the comparisons to Hitler emanating from right-wing echo chamber.

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  52. alex said on May 22, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    the right-wing echo chamber. Pardon.

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  53. Tim said on May 22, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    Here’s hoping Trump, too, gets tromped — by an 87-year-old, no less.

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  54. coozledad said on May 22, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    What Alex said. There are limits to collegiality, especially when a profession is so thoroughly degraded.

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  55. Jolene said on May 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Alex, I’m so sorry that you got fired for being gay. That really sucks, even if it was nearly thirty years ago. Must have been both infuriating and incredibly hurtful when it happened.

    I’m glad that you eventually found a place where you are appreciated.

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  56. alex said on May 22, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    Jolene, I’m sure my story isn’t unique. Much of my early career was spent following the path of least resistance. Being gay was dirt that competitive colleagues could use against you. This is why gay people flourished as hairdressers and florists, not so much as lawyers and executives.

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  57. Deborah said on May 22, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Jolene, how are you? If you feel like sharing with us, please do.

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  58. Jolene said on May 22, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    I’m feeling fine, but that may change soon. I found out yesterday that I’ll have to have both chemo and radiation. Beginning in a couple of weeks, I’ll have three chemo treatments at three-week intervals, followed by five and a half weeks of daily (that is, five days/week) radiation treatments, followed by three more chemo treatments. So, I’ll be involved in treatment in one way or another for most of the rest of the year.

    I’m not too freaked out about this. My doctor says that the main side effect is fatigue and weakness, with manageable digestive upsets. Of course, there is also the hair loss, which is, so far, the only part of this that has made me cry. I’m planning a wardrobe that involves lots of scarves and earrings rather than wigs.

    The good news is that, at the end of all this, I’ll be cured. According to the doctor, this isn’t a “go through hellish treatment and die anyway” situation. Once it’s over, she says, it’ll be over.

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  59. alex said on May 22, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Jolene, that’s good news, all things considered. Here’s wishing you a lot of fortitude in the coming months. Hope we can keep this forum compelling and interesting and something you look forward to participating in every day, just as the rest of us.

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  60. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 22, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Huzzah and all the healing prayers you can tolerate, Jolene. Sounds encouraging.

    Spent much of today doing auto shuffle duty for seniors with all their adult kids out of town; they’re 88 & 90, she drives and he doesn’t, and she had a small health alarm . . . after swimming her biweekly half-mile at the Y at 5:30 am. She was steaming mad, but the pool was quite cold this am, and she pushed herself, then got out saying “I feel fine, just some pain in my chest and upper arm.” Lots of us took our chances at explaining to her that once you’ve said that out loud, it’s really hard to get people to leave you alone or not call the squad. Anyhow, she makes me feel like such a wimp. And they’re both a reminder to me to take care of myself, because I might just end up living that long.

    He crossed the Remagen bridge the last day it was still standing, and slept in the snow outside of Bastogne; she crewed airplanes flown to the front for the men to take into combat. It’s an honor to get to help out even in small ways with folks like that. Plus it’s a great change of pace from paddling about in the shallow end of the foster parent pool.

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  61. Bitter Scribe said on May 23, 2013 at 12:00 am

    There is absolutely no excuse for subpoenaing a reporter’s phone records to find out who gave him or her information. None. The Justice Department and the Obama administration should be ashamed.

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  62. Prospero said on May 23, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Jolene, Godspeed. I will say prayers unless that offends you. If for an easy passage through treatment if nothing else.

    Fine Scribe, but do you have the slightest clue what’s involved. Apparently somebody at ABCNews has become part of the right-wing apparatus of disinformation and doesn’t give a shit what it has to do with. Where’s the Administration infringement on the 1st Amendment or any sign of government intimidation, other than Gene’s wet diapers? I mean, I just don’t get this nonsense. I did a very brief stint in what was called the stockade, in Athens, where I went to JSchool, for refusing to identify a source. I was only reporting for a class and possibly The Red and Black, a great student paper. In the end, my source was a completely untrustworthy thug motogang member that was probably lying his ass off. My mom bailed me out in time for a flank steak teriyaki dinner.

    If a “reporter” acted in an entirely partisan fashion and dealt in documents the reporter had no idea of the importance of one way or another, that isn’t a reporter anymore and fuck ‘im. Particularly when the so-called “source” material is abject manufactured bullshit involving classified material and a political smear-job, that is easily and quickly identified as such. Well, chop ’em up and throw the remains in the pigpen. It’s up to a reporter to be responsible for the veracity and dependability of her “sources”. If you have every reason to know without looking hard it’s just propaganda, you’ve clearly ceased to be reporting. I have dealt with this sort of info on a repertorial basis, as it applies to the depths of Massachusetts politics. But it got pretty hairy.

    I just think the handwringing here is strange. How does the word “spy” come into this, when nobody talked about “spying” back when Shrubco bullied all of the telecoms into building the monstro listening room, which I’d imagine still exists. Which makes the subpoenas something like keeping things out in the open. It’s recent history that’s a bitch.

    absolutely no excuse

    Seriously? This isn’t torture anybody’s talking about. Maybe you’re right, but it’s who’s leading this charge that puts a big stink on it. Right-wingers and Fox are defending the 1st Amendment? Something’s more than fishy.

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  63. Bitter Scribe said on May 23, 2013 at 10:44 am

    absolutely no excuse


    Yes, seriously. You can fume and bloviate all you want about Fox and right-wingers and disinformation and anything else; it doesn’t change a thing. Government has no business compelling reporters to divulge phone records, notes or any other work product.

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