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Since 1994, this is the 1092nd issue of Randy Cassingham’s...
Before the Stories: MSgt USAF (retired) Joseph in Ohio inquires, “As a multi-decade reader I find readers’ comments almost a entertaining as the stories. This brings me to my question. Being an English major I would like to know what the collective is for ‘obliviot’?”
A collective noun, of course, is the name of a group, like a panel of experts, a pack of dogs, or a murder of crows. So what would a group of obliviots be called? Well, what came immediately to my mind in response to Joseph was, a pride of obliviots. Not because they’re proud like majestic lions, but rather because obliviots are so sure of themselves, that they’re so right, so intelligent, that their pride blinds them to the truth of their...well... obliviotic actions. (That, of course, is a corollary of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which you may have read about in True way back in early 2000.)
I’ve popped this onto my blog so that you can see what other readers came up with — there are a lot of them, including some really creative suggestions.
Leading by Example: “God I want you right now,” John Diehl texted. “I wish you could have me right now,” Katie Graham said in reply. Diehl said he “will have my way with you” and “leave you quivering.” On the other hand, Diehl tells her later, “You have always been disappointed” when she asks him to “take care of me.” Diehl, 49, was the Republican speaker of the Missouri state House of Representatives, and Graham,19, is a college freshman — and was working as an intern at the state capitol. In screen shots of the texts, it can be seen that Graham changed the congressman’s name in her phone from “John” to “Frank Underwood” — the name of a fictional Congressman on the TV show House of Cards who has an affair with a younger woman. When the Kansas City Star published the messages, Diehl, a “pro-family values” Republican who is married andhas three children, resigned; Missouri Southern State University had already pulled all of its interns out of the capitol. (RC/Kansas City Star, KCTV Kansas City) ...Why is it that so many politicians who work to legislate morals can’t live up to their own edicts?
We Owe You Nothing: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration wanted a truck to use in a sting against a drug cartel. So, according to Craig Patty, the owner of a small trucking company in Houston, Texas, it took one of his, and it didn’t ask for his permission. The DEA arranged for Lawrence Chapa, who was working for the agency as an informant and for Patty’s company as a truck driver, to haul marijuana, but Chapa was ambushed by cartel soldiers. He was killed, and thetruck — one of only two the company had — was left bullet-ridden, spattered in blood, and out of service for almost three months. And Patty said he was afraid the cartel would think he was working with the DEA. Patty tried suing the federal government, but a federal judge didn’t let the case reach trial. “It is not just that you can’t sue the federal government,” said one of Patty’s lawyers, “but that fed law enforcement agencies under this rulingcan use anybody’s property to do anything they want to further their law enforcement mission and not have to go get the permission from the owner of the property to do it.” (AC/Houston Chronicle) ...Maybe we should stop paying for police cars, and just have the cops take any car they want instead.
I’m Late, I’m Late, for a Very Important Date! Man’s stated motive for running through airport clad only in underwear (yep: Florida) is mind-boggling. (Premium Only)
Caught on Camera: A man in Manalapan, Fla., grabbed his cell phone when he saw Jonathan Restrepo, 25, jump out of his girlfriend’s car into traffic. “He was running around like a monkey with his tongue out, waving his arms in the air, jumping on top of cars,” the man said. He started taking video as Restrepo jumped onto several cars, and then one car didn’t stop. The car continued down the highway, with Restrepo scrambling around the roof on his knees andpeering in the window at the terrified driver. Police stopped the car by coming in the opposite direction on the highway, and Restrepo finally jumped off and ran. “He ran a few feet and then ran back at them,” the man who shot the video said. “He was really confused, just acting crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it.” Officers were able to apprehend Restrepo, who allegedly told them he was using crystal meth and someone was after him. He was arrested on charges ofpublic intoxication, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief for causing more than $1,000 damage to two different cars. (MS/WESH Orlando) ...That’s the thing about paranoia: if someone’s not after you, they will be soon.
Oh, the Usual Reasons: Man manages to hire a hit man who’s not a cop, but is still caught because.... (Premium Only)
Should I Stay or Should I Go: School founder and director’s bizarre excuse for her racist statements at graduation doesn’t keep her from being fired. (Premium Only)
Duck! Duck! Judge gives stern lecture to teen for accepting a dare to.... (Premium Only)
Taking the Fun out of Funerals: Why hiring strippers to perform at funerals is a big trend in China. (Premium Only)
Fer Shir: While Colorado works to figure out solution to a man-made ecological problem, wild birds take care of it for them. (Premium Only)
There Kitty: Man let out of jail to await trial ordered to wear a GPS tracker, but he escapes when he figures out that he can.... (Premium Only)
In Like Flint: George Flint, 81, is the oldest lobbyist in the state of Nevada. He planned to keep at it, but a heart attack prompted him to retire. In response, state legislators declared “George Flint Day” to recognize his “outstanding and valuable contributions as Nevada’s longest-standing senior lobbyist.” Flint (most lawmakers call him “Georgie”) also has a day job: he’s an ordained Pentecostal minister who runs a wedding chapel inReno. He started lobbying on behalf of wedding chapels 52 years ago, but spent the last 30 years lobbying on behalf of a different industry: Nevada’s legal brothels. One goal he didn’t accomplish, even after all that time: getting prostitution legalized statewide: it’s not legal in four of the state’s 16 counties, including “Sin City” itself — Las Vegas’s Clark County — which brings an undesirable crime culture to the city, Flint says. Onegoal he did accomplish, early on: visiting a brothel as a client. “I’ve never hidden the fact I’ve tasted that merchandise,” he said. He says that one of Jesus’ most loyal followers, Mary Magdalene, was a hooker, and if a prostitute was good enough for Christ, they’re good enough for anyone. (RC/Los Angeles Times) ...An argument that may work on Jesus, but probably won’t on your wife.
Advice That Shouldn’t Be Needed, but Apparently Is
Police: Don’t Chase Bears While Drunk and Wielding a Hatchet
Did You Find an Error? Check the Errata Page for updates.
This Week’s Contributors: MS-Mike Straw, AC-Alexander Cohen, RC-Randy Cassingham.
I Hadn’t Heard Of John Diehl before he tripped over his pants (which were around his ankles in this week’s lead story). But the Missouri Family Policy Council, part of the evangelical Family Research Council, had earlier commended Diehl “for demonstrating moral leadership and true integrity in standing up for the sacred institution of marriage and the family values of the people of Missouri.” The Missouri chapter of theSouthern Baptist Convention thanked Diehl for “fighting to defend biblical marriage.” But he turned out to be Just Another Hypocrite who talked the moral talk, but didn’t walk the walk.
At least Diehl did the honorable thing by resigning quickly, and without making his wife stand beside him, even if he did hesitate for a day (after apologizing, he laid out his plans: “I will begin immediately working to restore the trust of those closest to me, and getting back to the important work that is required in the final days of session.” Only the next day did he resign as the pressure built.)
But don’t make the mistake of thinking only Republicans have been caught making fools of themselves over young interns! Who can forget the Bill Clinton Fornigate fiasco in 1998? Where is there a greater power difference between the President of the U.S. and a lowly, unpaid White House intern?
What bothers me about the Diehl silliness isn’t so much his hypocrisy, but that he has damaged the opportunity for students to really learn as interns, since the school has canceled the program — at least for this year. Real world experience was critical to my career path. An internship for a county “drug abuse education and awareness program” taught me loud and clear that I did ...not! want to work in public relations, especially for the “drug abuseprevention” sector, since what I saw of “DARE” (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) programs convinced me that they would do little or nothing to reduce drug use in kids — by then, I had seen plenty of overdoses as a medic. Sure enough, later studies showed kids are more likely to use drugs if they’ve gone through DARE!
Working on the campus newspaper, and later being selected editor of the campus magazine, showed me that I was much more interested in publishing than P.R., and much more interested in features than original reporting. I got a lot out of those experiences, but Diehl couldn’t keep his belt buckled, and wrecked it not just for the teen he was panting at, but the rest of the interns. What an obliviot indeed.
Comments? This also is in my blog, along with more samples of the text messages, here.
College Professor Christine of South Africa has been a free edition subscriber for more than five years, and so has seen quite a few “zero tolerance” stories in this newsletter. One recently (and it truly doesn’t matter which one, since it could well apply to any of the school ZT stories I’ve written since the first one in 1995) pushed her over the edge abit. She writes:
Quite a distressing story this one: it is not about “zero tolerance” — rather it is zero common sense, zero educational savvy, zero basic compassion, zero educational psychology, zero getting in experts on the child’s disposition. It appears to be a vendetta of school/teachers against a child, a minor, one entrusted to their care, for them to properly educate ... I am astonished. The school, principal, teachers involved, governing body, should be put on ayear’s suspension without salary, on probation, on having to be properly screened and tested before being allowed back into the profession. Jeepers — it is outrageous!
Yes. Yes it is. Yet there are still education “professionals” who defend, even embrace, zero tolerance. The idea that any hint of a transgression must be punished as if an actual crime has occurred means school officials don’t have to think, to consider, to weigh the evidence. A kid has leaf in his backpack? Kick him out of school for a year for “possessing drugs” on campus! Wait... tests prove the leaf is not marijuana? Well, it’s still a leaf!That’s a facsimile drug! Still guilty! Seriously: they do this to our kids. No, kids should not be bringing pot, heroin, LSD, or other illicit drugs to school. But a maple leaf isn’t any of those, but control-freak school administrators still persecute (...er, prosecute) as if it was. An asthma inhaler isn’t any of those, but schoolchildren have died because “the rules” say students can’t have “drugs” on campus. I say: ifschool administrators insist on following rote rules without consideration to any professional intelligence, then why in the world are we paying them professional wages? Minimum wage should be plenty, otherwise known as less than what McDonald’s restaurants now offer to burger flippers.
But then, maybe that’s still way too much. Christine, in education herself, is right: no salary is more like it — at least a year’s suspension for failing their basic duty as educators. Yet in this country, even when a zero tolerance case went all the way up to the Supreme Court (and the school lost, of course!), the school officials still weren’t fired. Instead, theschool district backed them up, and paid their legal expenses! Because, the Supreme Court ruled, they were protected by “qualified immunity” (though there was a dissenting opinion on that).
Killing ZT is a hard battle.
The Latest Posting to Jumbo Joke:
Ten Years Ago in True: He converted his gasoline pickup truck to run on what?! Keep On Truckin’.
This Week’s Honorary Unsubscribe goes to Elisabeth Bing who, even though not a doctor, pushed through a change in childbirth methods in the U.S. that spread to other countries, too.
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