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October 3rd, 2002:

Guess they don’t like him

We here in Houston like to complain about the Houston Chronicle for its many sins: it’s mealy-mouthed, a corporate shill, doesn’t have a good investigative reporting tradition (they missed the whole Enron scandal, after all), and is just as colorless as a glass of Perrier. All of which is true, but I sometimes fail to appreciate how true the latter item is until I come across stories like this from the Philadelphia Daily News, whose reporting on the Ira Einhorn trial has been a hoot. Take yesterday’s entry, in which the Einhorn defense team gets to cross examine some prosecution witnesses:

APPARENTLY, women who don’t love Ira Einhorn and his big, fat, bossy personality must be…lesbians!

In a shocking turn of courtroom strategy, Einhorn defense attorney William Cannon yesterday unleashed this sexual-orientation defense in an attempt to discredit female witnesses who saw bruises on Holly Maddux’s face in the years before she was beaten to death.

Cannon implied during cross-examination, then confirmed to reporters later, that he believed the women were testifying about Einhorn’s alleged beatings of Maddux because the women were jealous of the hippie’s romantic relationship with the beautiful Texan.

Wowzer. It’s not like Einhorn and his attorney, who went on to say “I think most of the women we have seen so far are the kind of ladies who were very much part of the pro-feminist movement, who could be termed as man-haters” and who are biased against “aggressive, outspoken strong men who dominated relationships”, don’t deserve this kind of open contempt. It’s just rather shocking to see in a daily paper.

They keep it up in today’s edition:

WE’RE NOW faced with the unpleasant task of discussing Ira Einhorn’s sex life.

During Einhorn’s murder trial yesterday, his attorney modified his previous “Lesbian Defense” to make room for the big, 1970s sex-romp diversion. The foray into free love stars the hygienically challenged hippie and his bevy of willing partners.

It’s actually kinda refreshing, even though I know that it’s just pandering to the masses. I wouldn’t want a steady diet of this kind of indignant posturing – there’s a reason I don’t read the New York Post – but sometimes a little outrage in the daily fishwrap is useful. As long as it’s not your own ox that’s being gored (and if Ira Einhorn is your ox, please don’t tell me about it).

Anyway, I think this is where I’ll be tuning in for future trial updates. How can you go back to wire feeds after you’ve seen this?

Another word for the blogger’s dictionary

Via Mikey comes the latest addition to the blogger’s vocabulary:

blurker (BLUR-kur): n. 1. One who reads many blogs but leaves no evidence of themselves such as comments behind; a silent observer of blogs. 2. One who reads many blogs but has no blog of their own; a blog-watcher or blog voyeur.
“But, Mikey, I can’t have a blog of my own! I’m a blurker!”

The shot heard ’round the world

Scott reminds me that today is the anniversary of Bobby Thomson’s famous home run that won the 1951 playoff for the Giants against the Dodgers. In commemoration of the event, I’ve got a little trivia quiz for you:

1. Who pinch-ran for the injured Don Mueller?

2. Who was the winning pitcher for the Giants?

3. What uniform number did Ralph Branca wear?

Scott has already given the correct answers in the comments here, but for convenience I’ll put them under the More link. Scott also has a great followup question whose answer is unfortunately eluding me…


Dems can replace Torch

The NJ Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that Frank Lautenberg can appear on the state ballot to replace Bob Torricelli. That was a 7-0 ruling, with two Republicans and one independent joining in. Six of those judges were appointed by Christie Whitman.

Anyone who whines at me about biased partisan rulings is going to hear some words that I’ve heard a few times since a certain SCOTUS ruling in late 2000: “Get over it.” And go check out Alex Whitlock, who has some good thoughts on the issue.

I see that the GOP is going to make a big deal about the overseas ballots, which they claim can’t be reprinted in time. According to the WaPo story, 106 such ballots had been mailed out as of the Torch’s withdrawal. Seems to me that in a pinch, you could just call those 106 people and tell them that a vote for Torch would count as a vote for Lautenberg and go from there. This is a small enough exception to be handled manually without any problem.

Finally, is it just me, or is the AP wire story on this just a tad bit slanted:

Giving hope to Democrats scrambling to retain control of the Senate, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the party can replace Sen. Robert Torricelli on the November ballot.

The earlier story, filed prior to the ruling, started off with “Desperate to retain control of the Senate, the Democrats in New Jersey blah blah blah”. So, um, if the Dems are “desperate” and “scrambling”, does that mean the Repubs are “calm” and “deliberate”? Maybe control of the Senate has both sides “desperate” and “scrambling”, y’know?

Fastow followup

More speculation today that the arrest and indictment of Andrew Fastow will lead to more big fish, as the plea bargain with Michael Kopper helped lead to Fastow.

While Fastow is charged with stealing money from Enron investors to personally enrich himself, the court documents make no similar allegations against [chief accounting officer Richard] Causey, former Enron chairman Ken Lay, [Jeff] Skilling or the company’s board.

But the criminal complaint lists by title — not name — former Enron executives, including Causey, who prosecutors claim made “false representations” to the company’s board of directors that allowed Fastow’s schemes to be approved.

Among those who prosecutors charged made false representations to the board was a former Enron CEO. One source close to the case said that was a reference to Skilling, not Lay, whom he replaced in that job in March 2001.

The charges also mention that Enron’s former treasurer helped deceive investors and the company’s board of directors. Though not named, Ben Glisan was company treasurer during the period described in court papers.

Fastow himself could be a critical witness against his superiors in the company, said experts who reviewed the wording of the charges against him.

And the document itself may be designed to send a signal.

“The reason people are identified but not named may be to send a loud and clear message to those Enron executives that this is the last opportunity to fashion a deal with the government,” [Philip Hilder, attorney for Enron executive Sherron Watkins] said.

It’d be nice to see the Dems make some more of this like I thought they would. Maybe Enron is the dud that Mickey Kaus said it would be, but that doesn’t mean that Republicans aren’t nervous about the economy. What else do they have if people aren’t talking about Iraq?

(CSM link via Kos.)

Lili arrives

Hurricane Lili has made landfall in Louisiana. The good news is that Lili has been weakened by some dry western winds and has been downgraded to a Category 2 storm. The bad news is that she’s still packing 100 MPH winds.

Once again, Louisianans know how to get through the tough times:

Some residents stayed. Steve Petty, 45, taped the windows of his Lake Charles home but did not board them up. Late Wednesday, he was watching baseball playoffs in one of the few open businesses — a bar and pool hall.

“I’ve been through Audrey and several others I can’t remember the names of. I’m not freaking out, I’m not leaving town. I been through a lot worse,” Petty said.

One other bit of good news comes from Scott, who reports that the McIlhenny Company, the makers of Tabasco sauce, expect to keep on making their spicy nectar without disruption. Whew! It’s one thing to threaten oil rigs, but when you start messin’ with Tabasco sauce, you’ve crossed the line.