THE LAST DITCH -- Douglas Olson — FREAK SHOW #31


Freak show #31
Just too good to miss


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Every day I run across several news items that cry out to be reported in The Last Ditch. There is never enough time or space, of course, so far too many of them end up gathering dust in the continually growing piles of paper on my desk. I recently summoned the fortitude to cull through some of those piles and trash many good, deserving items — but in this, and perhaps subsequent columns, I will be sharing some that, although severely dated by now, are just too damned good to miss!

"To Protect and Serve" our jack-booted thugs

Although courts have consistently ruled that police have no actual "obligation" or "responsibility" to protect citizens from crime, police in Wood River, Missouri, arrested and charged a man in 2005 with "refusing to aid an officer" when the citizen declined to help a cop subdue a car-theft suspect. After the suspect was safely in custody and other officers had arrived on the scene, Peter Skinner was arrested, cuffed, and held in jail for four hours until his father provided bail. According to a newspaper account, state law demands "that a person must help an officer who asks for help 'apprehending a person whom the officer is authorized to apprehend.'"

Defending the new Holocaust deniers

Lord Monckton of Great Britain wrote an open letter to Senators Jay Rockefeller (D-W. Va.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in 2006, after those pols ordered ExxonMobil officials to stop funding a "climate change denial campaign," and labeled those who disagree with the global-warming hoaxers as "deniers."

"You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to 'senior elected and appointed government officials' who disagree with your opinions," declared the British peer, a retired inventor, business consultant, and Conservative government advisor. He went on:

I challenge you to withdraw or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have good grounds, rooted firmly in peer-reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably call "disastrous" and "calamitous" consequences.
Our privileged parasites

In 2006, Diann Burns, the highest-paid TV newsperson in Chicago, sued a contractor whose work on her $3 million mansion, she alleged, was performed shoddily — because she was black! It was not Burns's first attempt to use her negritude to assail others. When, after 18 years with WLS-TV, she was taken off the air for several months near the end of her contract (not an unusual industry practice), she and her husband appeared repeatedly on local black media to demand a boycott of the station. Then she jumped to her current job, where she reportedly makes more than $2 million a year. My, how she has suffered for being black!

Laura Lee Medley, 35, of Los Angeles, extracted sympathy by claiming to be paralyzed as the result of a drunk-driving accident. She also filed numerous lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming injuries caused by failure to comply with the law. Last May, when police arrested her for attempted grand theft, filing false documents, and two counts of insurance fraud, she leaped from her wheelchair and ran — but was quickly apprehended.

Equality madness

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ruled that school districts are in violation of the law unless they have cheerleaders at both boys' and girls' athletic events.

In 2007, a judge in Alameda County, California, overruled the state's high-school exit-exam policy and ruled that some 47,000 students who failed to meet minimal standards could nonetheless graduate.

In 2006, U.K. Health Minister Caroline Flint told Parliament that she wanted to eliminate rules that permitted fertility clinics to deny services to lesbians and unmarried women, and that current regulations giving the father any consideration in the child's welfare should be scrapped. Flint also wanted to outlaw sex selection as the start of a "slippery slope" to designer babies.

The notorious "heckler's veto" is alive and well. Citing "potential violence," organizers cancelled a New York City concert to promote awareness of HIV/AIDS last year because two of the performers — Beenie Man and the T.O.K. group, all Jamaicans — had previously performed songs with lyrics alleged to be anti-homosexual. The cravenness of the move was even admitted: "The possibility of violence at the concert from the firestorm incited by a select group of activists makes cancelling the event the only responsible action."

The Twin Cities Pride Celebration sued the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2007 because the paper, citing its policy on community standards, refused to carry ads for the homosexual festival that depicted two men kissing.

In 2006, a New York court allowed a career criminal to sue a man for beating him up during a failed armed robbery attempt. The scumbag, serving 18 years as a repeat violent offender, sought damages from his intended victim for "intentionally inflicted emotional distress."

A board member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was fired in 2007 for offering a personal opinion against sodomy on a public-access cable TV show. Referring to Vice President Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter, Robert J. Smith commented: "That's fine, that's fine, but that doesn't mean that government should proffer a special place of entitlement within the laws of the United States for persons of sexual deviancy." For that blasphemy, he was terminated by Republican Gov. Robert Erlich, Jr., an alleged conservative then running for a second term in an ultra-liberal state. Throwing his own appointee to the wolves did not help; Erlich lost to a Democrat who quickly initiated the biggest tax increase in Washington's history.

Our president — or Africa's?

As the U.S. economy sinks into another recession just in time for the 2008 election, these excerpts from a 2005 State Department press release provide a revealing glimpse of the Bush White Houses's policies and priorities that have brought us to this end:

"The four trade development offices operated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nairobi, Kenya; Gabrone, Botswana; Accra, Ghana; and Dakar are a prime example of the Bush administration's commitment to expanding trade and economic development across Africa," says Lloyd O. Pearson, USAID's assistant administrator for Africa.

"We are also talking about what we can do to do a better job of economic development within the continent [of Africa] — on a country basis, on a regional basis, and on a continent-wide basis.

"What we will see as a result of all these activities ... will be jobs, jobs, jobs" ....

[P]rivate sector organizations enter into agreements with USAID to participate in a broad array of health, education, and development programs that promote social responsibility and help the community.

Pearson reminded his audience that in many African countries the unemployment rate is "staggering" both in rural and urban areas, and so the need for economic development is urgent. "The more we can do to spur economic development — income, jobs, community activities — then the better that community is going to be," he said. "The best way to help the poor is to make them not poor — so that is the approach that we are doing" ....

Just plain stupid

Miami police said Shane Thompson stuck a potato on the barrel of a gun, and then bragged to the mother of his illegitimate child that it would act as a silencer when he shot her. Instead of shooting her, though, he hit her, and was charged with false imprisonment, aggravated assault, and battery. The news story noted that the potato-silencer myth dates back to the 1920s, and mentioned a 1990s case in which a man shot a woman with a gun topped by a spud. The potato was found underneath her body.

New York Common Pleas Judge Eileen Gallagher dismissed a charge of raping a 10-year-old girl because the prosecutor was 45 minutes late to trial. Assistant prosecutor Mark Schneider, who had earlier that day asked the judge to recuse herself for stating that the accuser had "credibility problems," said he did not show because he was preparing an appeal to prevent Gallagher from presiding over the trial.

It's not all about you — moron!

A Chicago-area man fought (unsuccessfully) in 2007 to get Disney to cut its animated "Cars" movie and remove a scene in which an anthropomorphic automobile dashes across a railroad track, racing an oncoming train.

"As I'm sitting there, I couldn't believe it because this is a red car. My daughter was killed in a red car," complained Lanny Wilson of the DuPage Railroad Safety Council. His daughter was killed 12 years earlier, when a car she was riding in lost a similar race with a train — a tragic event he apparently thinks we all should suffer for, forever.

February 15, 2008

© 2008 Douglas Olson. All rights reserved.
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