Ohio River Life
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Saturday, June 28, 2008
The restaurants in our part of town--Barto's and the Hot Dog Shop were doing a good business. We drove over to Chester to an ATM and noticed that Ohio-side folks were lining up to get in McDonalds.
Obviously, trees and power lines are down everywhere. Whole trees were snapped in two near our St. Clair house. One neighbor had one fall on his van. In neighborhoods off Hill Blvd., a tree fell across the road and took all the power lines with it.
The front end of the storm was as quick-moving and violent as any I've seen, so I imagine the damage around the area is extensive. From what I saw on the Internet weather maps, it looks like those to the south of us got the worst of it.
If you do have power, feel free to give us a damage report from your area.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Google Earth offers hi-res satellite imaging of nearly every inch of the planet—except downtown East Liverpool, Newell, and part of Chester. Hmmmm. Why would just a few square miles of our little corner of the world be left out of the hi-res domain? What are they trying to hide? I’m open for speculation.
East Liverpool Board of Education President Gary Bonnell is at it again. This time he’s trying to get the cops to hate him even more than they already do. Apparently Bonnell wants to prosecute a police officer’s son for helping himself to some discarded desks, even though the desks were returned and everyone except Bonnell is cool about how the situation was resolved.
Clearly the newspaper accounts don’t tell the whole story, and names are being suppressed, so the public is left to fill in the gaps. Whatever the case, Bonnell couldn’t get a second on his motion to prosecute, so the case is closed. The matter of what happened to the stolen culvert pipes is another story. I have faith that Service Safety Director Ryan Estell will get to the bottom of it and let everyone know what happened.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I love the smell of progress in the morning
Well folks, it’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood. The city of East Liverpool finally is moving to patch our downtown streets and the Board of Housing Appeals has decided it won’t be fooled again.
According to the Morning Journal, Willis Smith, owner of the “historic” Smith Auto Parts building, has been ordered to tear down his dilapidated eyesore at the corner of Broadway and East Fourth. Smith, who has been able to string out the city for years with empty promises, apparently has thumbed his nose at us for the last time.
This is good news for everyone who wants to see progress in East Liverpool, but perhaps we should hold off on the celebration a little while longer. Smith has 28 days to appeal the board’s decision in county court, which I take to mean he has 28 days to file the appeal. How long the court takes to schedule the hearing is another story, and one never knows how a judge will rule on the appeal. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
I like Councilman Brian Kerr’s willingness to say what others won't, and I appreciate the board members for finally taking action on this matter. We should all be happy when the process works. Kudos to everyone involved in getting this thing done!
As much as I and others have squawked about the Smith building over the years, I understand that giving a property owner time to address problems is an essential part of the process, but Mr. Smith’s long record of inaction speaks for itself. The time has come to get rid of our city’s most prominent symbol of stagnation and decay.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Imus the racist/ELO greenway
by M. Stewart
Radio personality Don Imus is being called a racist again. I just finished watching an ESPN talking-heads analysis with a bunch of black men in suits. (Am I allowed to say “black men in suits"?) Some college professor and another guy joined Juan Williams in a display of oversensitivity so remarkable that it makes me wonder how these guys get through a day without being offended to death.
What Imus said was a joke that makes use of sarcasm, which is a form of irony, a concept that no one seems to understand anymore. Satire is another specialized form of irony that people don’t understand unless it’s so over-the-top that it’s no longer funny—i.e., Saturday Night Live.
My suggestion to the sensitive black men in suits is to quit whining and live in the world. In the 21st century, the white man is the least of your problems.
To be honest, I didn't even know Imus was still on the radio. I suspect most people wouldn't even have heard about his latest "racist" comment had the professional offended people not picked it up.
Besides, even if you’re not amused by Imus, why would you care what he says? Does anyone really care what Rush Limbaugh says about liberals? These guys are radio comedians, not congressmen. Offending people is their job.
Closer to home . . .
The end of June is approaching and downtown East Liverpool remains a danger zone for automobile traffic. Last winter’s potholes are getting deeper and wider, and still no one has reported a sighting of the city street crew.
Attempting to do my civic duty, I’ve been sweeping street gravel into the collection of potholes on my corner, but it only helps for a few hours until car tires knock it out. At least I’m trying. If something isn't done soon, I'll buy some Sakrete and set out some orange cones.
As bad as some of the downtown streets are, the blue ribbon for worst city street in America once again goes to upper Lincoln Avenue, but that’s only if you’re thinking 20th century. I suggest turning the negative into a positive by declaring downtown East Liverpool a pedestrian & mountain bike “green” zone.
People too old or too lazy to walk or ride a bike can move to Calcutta. (In all seriousness, Liverpool is a rough town and no place for the weak and the sick.) Getting rid of vehicles will make ELO a progressive city--a model of greenness for the rest of the world.
So put away those internal combustion engines and enjoy Liverpool’s modern downtown trail system today! Walkers and bikers unite!
Monday, June 23, 2008
Stormclouds to the east
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Speaking of three, here are three recent articles that ask (and answer) interesting questions:
Ann Rodgers. So how did the Point get on a Mayan calendar? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (June 22, 2008). "According to that calendar, a new age is predicted to begin in 2012. Before that time, these local believers say, the aquifer feeding the fountain will develop miraculous healing powers."
Sherry Ricchiardi. Whatever Happened to Iraq? How the media lost interest in a long-running war with no end in sight. American Journalism Review (June/July 2008).
Lester Feder. Dreams of My… Grandparents? Obama’s latest ad strategically omits all mention of his father. Columbia Journalism Review (20 Jun 2008).
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Vote NO in November
by M. Stewart
I know a lot of you out there will find this sort of cartoonish partisan display profound, but I find it embarrassing. It makes me want to drop to my knees in front of the Jefferson Memorial and beg for forgiveness.
In an effort to appear insightful and clever to a brain-dead electorate, U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter (R-Michigan) does a very good James Traficant impression by peddling the kind of witless partisan propaganda that passes for political discourse in this country. He draws a government salary for this.
When I see this sort of nonsense on either side of the aisle, I am reminded just how degraded and bankrupt the American two-party system really is. It makes me feel ashamed of my country, and I don’t like that feeling. We need change all right. We need a revolution, purification by fire.
So if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, I've seen enough already. Don’t bother asking for my support. I’m voting NO in November.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Reality reminds me of fiction
Have you heard about the feet washing up on the shores of British Columbia? If not check out Mystery surrounds severed feet near Canada.
Although police are not immediately jumping to conclusions of foul play, it sure does look like a plot from a TV crime drama. Specifically it reminds me of the M.O. of the serial killer in the first season of Dexter.
By the way, if you’ve only seen Dexter in the highly edited network television version, you haven’t really seen the show. I recommend the DVD edition.
Beyond perfect casting, fine acting, and good writing, Dexter’s appeal comes from the very uncomfortable, morally compromising position the audience is forced to assume—that is, pulling for a protagonist who is himself a psychopathic serial killer.
Although the first season’s resolution wasn’t great, it was good enough to make me look forward to the August DVD release of season two of Dexter.
Speaking of TV, I just watched the third season of Weeds on DVD. While not as good as the first two seasons, the third season is very funny and well worth the money. As is typical with a show that lasts a while, the writing eventually gets uneven, inconsistencies creep in, and plotlines start pushing the limit. I don’t know how long Weeds can be sustained, but the fourth season (now playing on Showtime) should signal its direction.
Season three has a lot of truly gratuitous nudity and sex that seems designed only to convince the audience that the actors are a sexy bunch. Too often the writers strain the plot to give Mary-Louise Parker, who plays main character Nancy Botwin, an opportunity to disrobe and/or flash her ass around.
While I appreciate her assets, Parker’s allure comes across best when understated, but now that I’m forced to see her as more of a sleaze, I’m losing sympathy with her character. In the first couple seasons, Nancy Botwin was a widow struggling to provide for her children. Now she’s more of a self-centered player who forgets to notice her children’s problems, most of which she causes. It’s pretty hard to like such a person.
I finally got around to seeing There Will Be Blood—writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film to date and one that puts him securely on my A-list. If you’ve seen this movie, you know that Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of oil man Daniel Plainview is one of the great performances of all time. Even if you don’t like the story—and I can see how some people might not—Lewis is magnificent in every frame.
Here is a movie whose tone is so disorienting that you don’t realize it’s a comedy until it’s over. In that sense (and only in that sense), it reminds me of the Coen Brothers’ Barton Fink (1991). I look forward to watching There Will Be Blood again and again.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
by M. Stewart
“This government does not torture people,” said President George Bush on Oct. 5, 2007. “We stick to U.S. law and international obligations.”
See this AP story or any of the thousands of others on yesterday's torture revelations.
So it turns out our beloved president has been caught lying to the American people yet again. If things keep going the way they are for the president, he’s going to end up leaving office decorated with tar and feathers.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the revelations that came out at Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing is that it was the military itself—all four branches—that ratted out former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush, and the CIA.
When the secretary of defense disregards the objections of military officials and approves illegal torture methods, there is a problem. When a president becomes so weak that he can’t even command loyalty from the military, there is a problem.
The best we American citizens can hope for is that the Bush-Cheney gang doesn’t do any more damage to the country in the next six months. That’s a pretty tall order, I know, but let’s keep our fingers crossed just the same.
YouTube really is turning out to be the bane of politicians, isn't it? We no longer have to remember what we thought we saw last year on TV; we can dial it up on the Internet and watch the liars do it over and over again.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
The Manchurian Candidate?
The serious student of media comes rather quickly to the conclusion that truth is a philosophical abstraction, an imaginary state of enlightenment that has nothing to do with what actually happens on the ground. Perhaps the best we can hope for is proper management of truth’s poor cousins—accuracy, honesty and fact—but such hope ends up relying on personal choice, which inevitably is influenced by our own internal contradictions, biases and beliefs.
We're left with propaganda and points of view, and that’s never more obvious than in a presidential campaign.
Democratic candidate Barak Obama will have the toughest time managing perceptions, especially since the Internet has stepped out of its infancy. Everyone now understands the power of the Internet to spread rumor and innuendo. Having become the world’s greatest grapevine, the Internet reflects the best and worst of our time. Republican John McCain will take his cyber lumps, but at least people are, for better or worse, familiar with his record. As a relative newbie, Obama is wide open for unvetted attack.
You’ve heard it already: Obama is a Muslim, a Sophist, a communist, a traitor, a terrorist. These days, one needn’t offer much in the way of proof. A quotation of someone saying something will do, and you can launch a meme on the WWW and watch it run. As such, the Internet is the greatest propaganda tool ever created.
Add to it that most Americans are unaware of the difference between fact and opinion, between the news and the op-ed pages, between advertisement and documentary, and you’ve got serious trouble. For its part, the traditional media have purposely blurred the lines, making it even more difficult for people without critical skills to know what’s what. Then along comes the information cacophony of the Internet—a medium that takes even greater skill to decipher.
Rather than offer obvious examples of Internet propaganda, let’s look at more sophisticated, more complex stuff. Below are two vids from the cable television news network CNN, which most people claim is the liberal counterpart to the unabashedly conservative FoxNews.
What do you make of these video segments from liberal CNN? These segments probably ran for a day on their original host medium--television. How many times will they be viewed on the Internet? Consider as well that you are viewing these vids on a Web site—a blog run by a guy from East Liverpool who has no connections to CNN or the presidential campaigns of Barak Obama or John McCain. Is it clear why I am presenting these videos? Do you think you know, or do you know?
I first saw these and other vids on a site claiming to represent an organization called The National Organization for ExHillary Clinton Supporters for John McCain. A disclaimer on the site reads: This web site is not endorsed by or in any way connected to Hillary Clinton. This web site is not endorsed by or in any way connected to John McCain.
I clicked into the site from a story I was reading this morning on Google News about Obama's problems with Internet rumor--a story that was no longer listed at the Google site when I checked back an hour or so later.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Has anyone seen this house?
Friday, June 13, 2008
Bring your family to the Pottery Festival
Jo and I went down to the Tri-State Pottery Festival last night and enjoyed ourselves immensely. There was a very good crowd for the Thursday night opening, and we intend to go down again tonight and take the nieces and nephews. Hope to see you there.
I’m not much for going on rides, but those who like that sort of thing won’t be disappointed. There really is something for everyone. The band we saw last night was very good, and I’m told it’s only going to get better as the weekend continues. And the elephant ear I ate was fantastic! Tonight I think we’ll eat supper at the festival.
What is it with these assholes who always want to jump in your face and call our annual party “The Poverty Festival”? Aside from being an aggressive insult to the city, it’s just plain stupid. I was talking to a guy the other night who kept repeating it over and over again because he confused our ignoring him with being hard of hearing.
“It’s the Poverty Festival, not the Pottery Festival,” he finally said. “Poverty, not pottery. Get it?” The truth is that it’s a tired joke that never was funny. Those of you who think we in East Liverpool think you’re cute when you say it, think again.
A lot of good people work very hard to organize the Pottery Festival every year. What I see when I go is a whole lot of kids, teenagers, and adults having a great deal of fun. If that’s something you feel a need to put down, then go ahead, but don’t go around thinking you’re funny or clever. You're just plain sick. If you don’t want to join us, then stay home, watch TV and drink beer, but don’t insult East Liverpool for trying to do something nice for your family.
Why can't we just treat one another with respect, visit each other’s towns and enjoy ourselves? Why is something like that so out of the question in Columbiana County? What has happened to our people that we take such pleasure in being small-minded and nasty?
For those of you who still remember how to have fun with your family without getting blind drunk and acting stupid, the festival goes on through Saturday night. Check the festival Web site for a schedule of activities.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
In case you missed reading the comment left by SG, let me repost that information here on the main page:
There are several other events going on in conjunction with the Pottery Festival that won't show up on the official schedule. Many events are going on at the Coffee Fusion & Tea Company. If people are in town and have not visited there, it's well worth the visit to see what Dave Marshall has done to the old Olgilvie/DWYCO building.
Some of the event include: Technology Council Computer Workshops, ELHS Alumni Band, Drum Group, and individual singers. I only know the Tech Council schedule, but the other items are on display at Coffee Fusion.
The Technology Council schedule is:
Thursday (4 p.m.) Digital Photo Editing.
Friday (4 p.m.) PhotoStory 3.
Saturday (2 p.m.) Open Source (Free) Software.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Think about the future
What is all this business in Salineville with the part-time cop? The Morning Journal has published two stories on the firing of Ptl. Mike Garber, who, according to today’s paper, is making noises about taking his situation to court.
I’ve never met Mr. Garber and know of him only by reputation in Wellsville. I have no idea why he left that village for Salineville. What I do know is that part-time employees typically are not granted the same kind of protection in these disputes as full-timers, so I’m a little confused by all the ruckus.
Combining the unofficial published reports of Garber’s recent behavior and his reputation among Wellsville citizens, I’ve got to wonder why Salineville Police Chief Tim LaClair and Mayor Dave Berta are so willing to go out on limb for this guy.
According to the newspaper, Garber and his supporters are making a big deal about his request to have his case heard in open council, which runs contrary to standard procedure and custom. I’m not sure, but it may even be illegal. Personnel issues of this kind are always handled in executive session. This is council’s decision anyway--not Garber’s, not the police chief’s, and not the mayor’s.
Certainly no one should lose his job based on anecdotal complaints, but Salineville is a very small town where very little happens out of earshot. It looks to me like Garber is flinging the door wide open for people to come forward with formal complaints. Now that the MoJo has hold of it, the whole county is watching.
Maybe Mr. Garber should take some advice from The Joker: "Think about the future."
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Obama trying to speak in Bristol, Va.
I've been to Bristol, Va., and it's not the kind of place that strikes me as "Obama country." By the way, do you see anyone in that audience "fired up"?
Bonnell calls out Halbert
East Liverpool Board of Education President Gary Bonnell has issued a statement in response to the recent public fracas over Superintendent Ken Halbert’s alleged resignation. Read the entire statement at Councilman Brian Kerr’s City of East Liverpool blog, then come on back for my comments.
Although our board of education sometimes seems crazy and comical, I like this kind of public debate. Whether you love him or hate him, Gary Bonnell is genuinely committed and involved, and I’m glad he’s willing to serve on the board. Yes, I’m sure he’s a pain in the ass to work with, and there is little question about the size of his ego, but he is a formidable force in local politics, and most of the time I appreciate his passion and resolve.
Even though Bonnell’s statement represents only his side of the story, it is an articulate and credible rendition of events. It will be interesting to see if and how the superintendent responds.
I was surprised to learn that Halbert’s attempt to oust Treasurer Dan Telzrow was motivated by his desire to bring “the former Wellsville treasurer” to East Liverpool. Although Bonnell does not refer to her by name, I assume he means current county Commissioner Penny Traina, or is it her predecessor, Rebecca Jenkins? Anyone know for sure?
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I counted eight instances in Bonnell’s statement where he claims Halbert has threatened to resign, including the most recent. If even half of these threats are valid, why doesn’t the dude just pack up and git? What kind of game is he playing?
Maybe the money is too good, and landing a better gig won’t be so easy now. I don’t fault a man for earning a good wage, but in return we taxpayers have every right to expect a strong commitment to the district and its students. How committed can Halbert be if he threatens to quit every time things don’t go his way? Or is none of this true?
Say it ain't so, Ken.
In his statement, Bonnell makes no attempt to hide the fact that he brought Halbert to East Liverpool; however, I have to wonder why he is only now paying attention to what Wellsville folks had to say. Halbert’s performance there was not exemplary, and the complaints had nothing to do with sour grapes. Bonnell implies that he was duped, but he fails to explain how or why he let that happen.
Also conspicuously absent from Bonnell’s statement is a clear conclusion. What exactly does he want us to do with this information? What does he intend to do? Is Halbert resigning or not? If not, can we expect another war?
What am I saying? Of course it's a war, and Bonnell has already thrown down. Look again at that penultimate paragraph: "Unlike Superintendent Halbert, I do not threaten to quit nor am I a quitter. It will be a cold day before I resign."
I have absolutely no doubt about that.
Monday, June 09, 2008
I love you, man
by M. Stewart
A story in today’s Post-Gazette explores the evolving forms of male greetings and expressions of affection—from the “dap” to the “chest bump” to the “male hug.” Let me go out on a limb and confess that I’m confused by all this hip, cross-cultural choreography and find myself feeling nostalgic for a time when customs were established and enforced by emotionally suppressed white men.
Let me explain.
The issue for me has nothing to do with an across-the-board distaste for males expressing emotion. My generation invented the modern sensitive male, and although I think it has created a whole new set of problematic ambiguities—especially for women—I’m not prepared to declare the experiment a failure. I’m not one of those boys-don’t-cry types.
So it’s not that. An appropriate display of sadness, horror, exuberance or joy is fine. Hey, if you score the winning touchdown or discover you’re holding a $100 million lottery ticket, let it out, brother. Having said that, I don’t need to see the president of the United States chest bump somebody at a graduation ceremony unless the guy is carrying bin Laden’s head on a stick. There is a time and place for everything.
No, I’m talking about lesser, more routine acknowledgements between males—the times when a plain, standard handshake or nod will do. Let’s not get crazy here. Don’t make it more complex than it has to be. Let us be sensitive to the fact that not everyone knows the newest dance.
Several years ago I was coerced by my sister to attend services at her church. (Not my style, but I love my sister, and I’m sure she thought my eternal soul needed work.) At church, the first thing I noticed was that all the men greeted each other with hugs—not quick clutches initiated with handshakes, but real hold-on-and-squeeze hugs.
Mind you, these are ultra-conservative men who own guns and drive pickup trucks every other day of the week, but on Sunday, they are filled to the brim with agapé and philia. Their cups runneth over.
Amidst this beautiful display of godly camaraderie, all I could think was, “What the fuck? Get me outta here!”
When I was a kid, my family attended Penn Avenue Methodist Church. I don’t remember any touching or hugging, unless you count shaking the Rev. Brunstetter's hand as you walked out the door. There were no chest bumps, hugs, daps, slaps, grinds, high-fives or head butts. In those days, you knew what was expected. You knew what to do.
In my old-fashioned world, men shake hands to say, “I have no weapon,” “Nice to meet you,” or “Nice to see you again.” That’s as far as it goes.
Given my distaste for all the newfangled male greeting and brotherhood rituals, I suppose there is no escaping the fact that in the end I’m nothing more than a stereotype of the emotionally stunted Anglo-European white man.
I don’t like people who argue or shout in public; I think people who honk their car horns without just cause are low class; I have to be blind drunk to dance; and I’m not comfortable hugging a man unless I’m at his mother’s funeral.
So there, I’ve said it. I’m out of touch. I’m old. I’m no fun. I’ve got issues. I know.
But I also think of this little talk as an opportunity to express my vulnerabilities, to share my feelings, to reach out. So don't judge me harshly. Help me.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Why the WVU scandal is important
The big story in regional news is the resignation of West Virginia University President Mike Garrison, who clearly was pushed out in an effort to stop the bleeding from one of the worst higher-education corruption scandals in recent history.
Rather than go over territory covered well by others, let me refer you to the Post-Gazette for the news itself, a useful PG chronology of events, Anthony Underwood's WV Report for other relevant links, and to the blog, Fifth Column, for insightful commentary on the scandal.
Aside from a professional interest in the WVU case, I also am particularly interested in the role the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette played in it. The whole thing started on Oct. 11, 2007 when the PG called WVU's registrar to verify the academic credentials of Gov. Joe Manchin's daughter, Heather Bresch, who had just been appointed chief operating officer of the Mylan Corporation.
Long story short, the PG discovered that the governor's daughter had been given a WVU master's degree without actually completing the coursework. A vast coverup ensued, one that included a series of amazing lies orchestrated with the full knowledge of WVU President Mike Garrison.
Because everyone involved is so well connected to the state's power structure, the coverup was managed with a remarkable arrogance that ultimately left too many major players exposed--including the governor himself.
In the seven months since that initial call, the Post-Gazette kept the pressure on with some 60 stories on the ever-widening scandal. I would contend that the last straw was the publication of a PG report detailing the names, photos and political connections of the university's board of governors, which showed that the newspaper had indeed connected way too many dots.
The only thing left to do was offer up Garrison, hoping that it would appease the newspaper and the forces it had unleased within WVU--particularly the university's faculty.
Why the WVU story is important beyond Morgantown:
The Heather Bresch scandal is significant for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the poignant demonstration of the necessity of an independent press in a democratic society.
It is vital to note that West Virginia newspapers had no hand in exposing this egregious example of influence peddling in their own state. FACT: When newspapers are owned and operated by those aligned with the government power structure and special interests, they become mere organs of the rich and powerful.
The very reason the Founding Fathers gave the press constitutional protection was to give it the legal authority to act as watchdog to government and the powerful special interests that control it. More and more these days our population embraces what amounts to a state-sponsored news media, and nothing could be more dangerous to our way of life.
So hats off to the Post-Gazette for reminding everyone that the fundamental watchdog role of the press is still alive and well in our region. Because corruption happens in small towns and rural counties just as much as in big cities and major universities, every journalist in the land should be inspired by the resignation of Mike Garrison.
Friday, June 06, 2008
According to the Morning Journal, East Liverpool School District Superintendent Ken Halbert is threatening to resign again. Apparently he’s tired of BOE president Gary Bonnell’s hands-on approach to things.
In a story that reads like a comedy sketch, Bonnell is quoted as saying, “Halbert said he was tired of me micromanaging, and he was resigning. I was shocked.”
He was shocked?
I especially like the part where Halbert refuses to give Jo Ann Bobby Gilbert a copy of the meeting agenda, telling her instead to get it from the Review. Anyone have video of that? I'll pay cash.
Then there is the part where Bonnell accuses Halbert of “unprofessional behavior” just before accusing fellow board member Larry Walton of owing the state $97,000 in back taxes.
About the only thing we haven’t seen yet is a school board member pulling out a gun and shooting someone. I suppose it’s just a matter of time.
Speaking of violence, hats off to Hancock County, East Liverpool and St. Clair Township police for so quickly rounding up the gang involved in the robbery and murder of a 63-year-old Newell man on Wednesday. Somehow one of the guys involved in the Newell murder ended up dead in East Liverpool, but the county coroner is keeping the cause of death a secret.
Although details should become clearer in the follow-up reports, it seems that the males involved in the initial murder were brothers from Akron--I mean literally, Terrence and Michael Williams. As I read it, Michael is the dead one. According to the paper, the Liverpool woman involved in the plot was said to be acquainted with the Newell victim--fellow name of Rex Waugh.
Sounds like a Coen Brothers film to me. And summer doesn’t officially start for another couple weeks.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Unraveling the West Virginia network
Take a look at this cast of characters on the WVU board and connect the dots. (It's a big PDF, so give it some time to download.)
The Post-Gazette is doing what good newspapers are supposed to do--that is, serve the public interest by revealing corruption when it occurs. Look closely at the PDF and you'll see why other Ohio Valley newspapers are paying little attention to the scandal.
Into the past
Talk about a cheap shot
A Georgia high school baseball team was fined $1,000 for purposely hitting an umpire with a pitch during a 13-1 playoff loss. The pitcher is the younger brother of another player who argued with the umpire after striking out. His was the ninth strikeout in a row.
Wings own Pens in game six
As many suspected might happen, the Pittsburgh Penguins just couldn’t skate with the Detroit Red Wings in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals. Even though the Pens made it exciting with a late goal and a final-second shot that came ever so close to sending the game into overtime, the Wings dominated throughout, demonstrating to Pittsburgh’s youngsters just how championship hockey is played.
Down 1-0 in the first period, the Pens failed to score during a five-on-three power play, and that pretty much set the tone for the entire game. It seemed like Detroit managed a shot on goal every time they got the puck, while the Pens were lucky to get it across the blue line. Down by two goals and facing elimination in the final period, the Pens managed just one shot on goal in the first 17 minutes. In those same minutes, the Wings launched 11 or 12 shots at Marc-Andre Fleury, and they were defending a two-goal lead.
Until the Pens emptied the net in the final two minutes of the game, the Wings spent the entire third period playing keep-away with the puck. Yes, it was tough to watch for the hometown crowd, but the lop-sided final period was an incredible display of Detroit’s superiority on the ice. By that time, the Pens were little more than a group of tired, disappointed kids who knew their asses had been kicked.
The best team won the cup, and that's how it should be. Still, the series was fun to watch, and I’m glad the Pens did as well as they did. If Mario can avoid losing key people to free agency in the off season, don’t be surprised to see the Pens back in the finals next year.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Do something, but what?
A reader sent us a link to this video about John McCain. Although it is edited to show the senator in a bad light, the video age makes it pretty hard for a candidate to hide from his own lies. I find it a bit suspicious that this video blames "corporate media" for refusing to "cover the story," yet the entire presentation is put together with clips from corporate media. Otherwise, it seems fair enough. We are asked to "do something," but I wonder what we can do given a two-party system that leaves voters with such lame choices, a system in which the candidate with the most votes loses. Any ideas?
Pens pull out game five in OT
I’m one of those who stayed up ‘til all hours of the night watching game five of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals, which, in case you haven’t heard, the Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-3 in triple overtime.
The win belongs to Pens goalkeeper Marc-Andre Fleury, who took 58 shots on goal and allowed just three into the net. Fleury’s skill kept the Pens in the game against a relentless and clearly superior Red Wing team that simply couldn’t get the puck by Fleury in OT.
No question that the Pens will have a big home-team advantage in game six tomorrow night at Mellon Arena after Monday’s emotional win in Motown, but it’s still going to take a miracle to win the Stanley Cup against the Wings. All I know is that I’ll be watching and rooting for the home team.
On a side note, hockey is very emotionally fatiguing sport to watch. Possession of the puck changes so often and things happen so quickly that the constant ups and downs wear you out, especially in a triple overtime game. And that’s just watching the game on TV. We can only imagine what it’s like for the players on the ice.
To shift gears, what’s with all these bodies washing up in the Ohio River? They fished out another one the other day at Babbs Island. That’s three bodies in three months. Perhaps what’s most remarkable about these badly decomposed corpses is that no one seems to be stepping forward to claim them.
I was talking to a friend yesterday who said he’d heard the rumor that a serial killer was on the loose. I kind of doubt that, but it demonstrates what happens when the dots are left unconnected. Another theory, he said, was that East Coast criminals are transporting bodies out here for disposal.
Who knows? Either way, it’s pretty clear that the Ohio River is a good place to dispose of a body if you want to cover your tracks.