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Archive for "Feb 28 2008"

I Love Staten Island, But…

Wife™ once asked me about me muttering, “five hunnert; another five hunnert,” and so on when we’d go to a place like Walgreen’s, or some similar ‘Stop-n-Go’ shopping place, and work our way through the parking lot. It was like Candytown, the number of cars just sitting there, waiting….

Seriously, the level of dumbass out here is unbelievable; if the traffic wasn’t so congested, making getaways harder to pull off, these boosts would be epic in their numbers:
Gothamist: Staten Island Car Owners Are an Easy Target

Out of the 76 cars reported stolen for 2008, the NYPD says 24 of them had the keys in the ignition. And then another 10 vehicles were stolen because the keys were, per the Advance, in the “glovebox, on the ground of a parking lot or discovered inside a jacket left behind at a restaurant.” Lieutenant John Peruffo said car thieves “are always around waiting for you to do it, to leave the keys in the car.”

Here are some of the explanations the police get from vehicle owners: “I was just taking in groceries,” “I was just warming up the car while I went back in the house to grab a coffee,” and “I just ran into the deli for a bagel and cigarettes.” Nice!

The keys left in the ignition excuse is bad enough, but “inside a jacket left behind at a restaurant”? Where the hell did these people go? Out for a smoke between courses? I’d imagine (hell, have experienced) waltzing out of a place while leaving my coat behind, but when I got to the car I usually figured out where I’d made a mistake in my cunning escape plan.

The Clemens Inquisition: Why is Pettite Getting a Pass?

The way that the radio guys, NY Post and Daily News sportswriters–especially that gutless twirp Lupica, who doesn’t allow comments on his near-daily attacks on Clemens–have pretty much all decided that the Rocket is already convicted, it’s unsurprising that I had to go to the Village Voice find a clear headed examination about what really is going on in this circus sideshow:

When the Mitchell Report revealed that McNamee said he injected Pettitte with HGH in 2002, Pettitte was reviled as a cheat and a liar. In a short time, he was transformed into a sympathetic figure (despite withholding information on further HGH use) for one reason: He was the tool that could be used to get Roger Clemens.

Softballs for Pettitte; Beanballs for Clemens by Allen Barra

Barra lays out what seems to be the biggest reason everyone has decided that Rocket is guilty: Pettite’s testimony. But Andy’s testimony ain’t necessarily the smoking gun everyone seems to believe it is:

That Pettitte would not appear as a witness at the February 13 public hearing wasn’t known until just before midnight on Monday, February 11. The next morning, most headlines read like ESPN.com’s “Pettitte’s Affidavit Supports McNamee’s Version of Events.” This, it seemed, was damning—irrefutable proof that Clemens had lied in his own deposition to the committee (not to mention to Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes). It was speculated that the reason that Pettitte would not be appearing in person was that he didn’t want to hurt and embarrass his close friend and former teammate—an explanation highly favorable to Mitchell and Waxman, as well as to Pettitte’s reputation.

Another version of Pettitte’s reasons to skip the hearing appeared in numerous stories that also appeared on February 12: As ESPN’s T.J. Quinn reported, sources had told him that “Pettitte was not a good witness when he appeared before Congressional lawyers during sworn deposition . . . . Pettitte often contradicted himself, so the committee agreed to his request not to appear before the committee.” If that’s true, one must wonder if Waxman wasn’t relieved that Pettitte wouldn’t be grilled in person about the vague and often contradictory statements in his deposition. If so, Roger Clemens, whether innocent or guilty, was denied the fundamental right of facing his accuser.

Predictably enough, those local sportswriters who have long since declared Clemens guilty haven’t gone back to Pettitte’s deposition, though it is now on the public record. If they did, they might agree with Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, who, in a thoughtful February 14 piece on the BP website, found that “Pettitte’s testimony is hardly the slam-dunk takedown of Clemens that it was made out to be. Pettitte, in many places, actually corroborates Clemens’s version. . . . What is interesting is that the differences between Pettitte’s statement and Clemens’s statement are so easily reconciled.”

go read the whole thing.

Another Bullet in the Old Gray Lady’s Ass

A New York Times story helps itself to two lines from a Miami Herald piece. – By Jack Shafer – Slate Magazine

I discovered the plagiarism while considering the Times article as a candidate for my “Stupidest Drug Story of Week” series. The unsourced assertion that paco was highly addictive because its high is short-acting struck me as suspicious nonsense. Plenty of drugs are short-acting without being highly addictive. A few Nexis stops later, I found the Herald piece.

Times Managing Editor Jill Abramson says that the piece’s author, Alexei Barrionuevo, concedes that he lifted the two passages. Barrionuevo had been working on the paco story for a couple of weeks and realized at the end of the process that he needed definitional passages about the drug to distinguish it from crack cocaine. She says that instead of consulting his notes, which he claims contained the information, he relied on Google. Indeed, a copy of the Herald story can be found via Google.

Excuse me, but if this clown was working on the story for “a couple of weeks,” shouldn’t he have actually spoken to at least one junkie that could have provided him with a quote about the drug’s effect, and its high consumption requirement?

Is this a variation of Jason Blair reporting going on, once again, at “the newspaper of record,” that tells the desired story, but avoids the reporting?

via Insty, who notes on the plagiarism charge: “It’s real, but it seems pretty small-bore to me.”

Wrong, BlenderBoy. If the ‘layers’ of editors and fact-checkers never asked this reporter where, exactly, he came up with those numerically defined hits that provided a needed leg for his story to stand upon, it shows that nobody cared about a basic assertion of the entire story’s premise… he cut, pasted and twinked it to earn his byline, and no one even blinked.

(with snark not-quite fully in place), I gotta wonder: did his ethnic makeup give him, a la Jason Blair, immunity to scrutiny in the name of promoting diversity?

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