Thursday, February 17, 2005

KC Star Columnist Barbara Shelly: Government Tool

That incessant whining sound you hear at night comes from the KC Star offices. Once again, KC's only daily rag uses a columnist to drive home the 'taxes aren't so bad' message. For those of us who choose to point out the faults in these arguments, we are lectured by these giants of media excellence.

This time it's Barbara Shelly, doing the pro-tax dance. The Star loves to lay guilt trips on anyone who points out just how wasteful government spending is. If you oppose payments to billionaires so they can't improve or build new sports stadiums, then you're automatically opposed to downtown growth or else your just letting the town 'turn into another Omaha or Branson.'

This city deserves a competing daily that will point out just how much ass the Star kisses at City Hall, the Truman Sports Complex, etc.

Shelly claims the anti-tax crowd is ignoring the common good that government is meant to provide. Oh so sorry "Babs", we're just trying to remind folks how often government compounds problems when they are allowed further say on how we live our lives.

The Weekly Standard: Shills for Bush, Neocons...and Darth Vader?

Sometimes these publications that coddle Bush and his buddies are just too funny. Take a look back at their online site's two years ago on their coverage of the Star Wars film: "Attack of the Clones."

In his 'review' of the Star Wars film franchise, Jonathan V. Last argues FOR the empire (Darth Vader, Boba Fett, etc.) and against the Luke Skywalker-lead rebellion! A must read in order to truly appreciate the depths these media voices will sink in order to support government (liberal or conservative).

E-mail Mr. Lust (webeditor@weeklystandard.com) and remind him what a tool he and his cronies are for supporting oppresive regimes rather those who fight for liberty and a truly free society (whether they be in a galaxy far, fary away or closer to home).

Looking for a Career Switch -- Give Fox News Radio a Shot!!

Liberal rabblerouser Michael Moore shines his left-biased spotlight this month on Fox News (surprise!).

Just in case you always wanted to join up with Rupert Murdoch's media empire....now's your chance!

By the looks of the ad, it doesn't appear that the standards are very high at News Corp. these days. If you are a 'news junkie' (translation: you stare at Shep. Smith day after day) you just may have a future with the soon-to-be launched Fox News Radio.

I'm hoping to be plugged in as a News Anchor so that I can show them I know how to deliver "Fair & Balanced newscasts."

It's incredible how full of themselves they are. They even have to remind prospective employees just how fair and objective they are in order to maintain this veil of journalisitic standards.

LJWorld doing PR Work Once Again for KU

Last week, the Lawrence-Journal World put together what appears to be an honest feature on the ease in which universities skew the graduation and academic records of student-athletes.

But seriously...

This is also a huge (free) PR job the LJWorld is doing for KU.

If the numbers were skewed toward KU too much (as opposed to MU), would they have taken the time to point out the flaws and the shaft that MU was receiving?

These kinds of stories aren't just generated from people in a newsroom. Someone at KU gave the LJ World a heads up on this report coming from a KC television station. LJ World kills two birds with one stone by pointing out faulty reporting on the part of the neighboring big city competitor and keeps their sports readers happy by going after the oh-so-hated Tigers.

Mike Greenwell: "I'm the 1988 AL MVP!"

Former Red Sox outfielder Mike Greenwell has a hell of a case for why he should be named 1988 MLB AL MVP: he didn't use steroids, and Jose Canseco (the recipient of the award) did.

"Where's my MVP?" Greenwell told the Fort Myers News-Press. "[Canseco's] an admitted steroid user. I was clean. If they're going to start putting asterisks by things, let's put one by the MVP."

Did the award cost Greenwell millions of dollars as he claims?

Maybe so.

The real question is whether or not all of my late 80's Topps and Donruss Greenwell cards will skyrocket in value once MLB awards him with what is rightfully his. God knows, all of my B.J. Surhoff "Future Star" Topps rookie cards will never be worth a penny. But you still have to admire the wood-like frame on that '87 set.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Dodgeball Fuels Tsunami Relief Effort

Ordinarily, the sight of students hurling objects at school teachers and administrators would include that of another party: the authorities.

However, law enforcement figures were nowhere to be seen at Shawnee Mission North High School on January 14th, when students and faculty squared off in a friendly (depending on which side you speak ask) game of dodgeball. The tournament raised more than $6,000 toward the Red Cross Tsunami Relief Effort in Washington D.C. Student council members chipped in to push the grand total up to $7,000 in donations. Faculty members were impressed with just how quickly student leaders were able to organize a charity event of such magnitude, on the fly, in order to assist the victims families of the tsunamis that hit Southeast Asia in December.

“For them to come up with something like this so quick was amazing,” computer and business teacher and student council faculty advisor Cody Fothergill said. “They knew they had to do something as soon as possible in order to help the relief effort.”

“Time was essential and they passed with flying colors.”

Although the tournament included only four teams, every student was eligible to form a team and be entered into a drawing from which the final competitors were selected. To form a team, students had to raise a minimum of $100. Thirteen teams of six students and an alternate were able to successfully do so. Additional entries were given to teams for every additional $25 raised.

The entrants raised $4,351.04 alone. A crowd of 1,000 fans (who paid $2 each) was on hand to witness the unique, physical competition pitting teacher versus student.

“I was really impressed with just how organized and rule-oriented the game was,” Associate principal Jim McMullen said. “It wasn’t just throwing things at each other, it was a real game out there.”

“Everything exceeded our expectations.”

Rules for the competition were given to players prior to the tournament. Students and faculty co-existed long enough to serve as referees for the matches. Some students implied that last year’s film “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story” may or may not have provided the inspiration for the event. While Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller were not present this time around, McMullen sat alongside science teacher Steve Fluty to provide fans with live game commentary (a la ESPN 8, “The Ocho”) over the public address system. The broadcasting duo’s debut was overshadowed by a mesmerizing display of agility, speed, power, and teamwork by their colleagues.

“I’m so glad (the faculty) agreed to do something like this on short notice,” McMullen said. “It’s uncommon to move that quickly on something, but the event was good for everyone involved.”

“I’ m just glad no one got hurt,” Fothergill said. “We won, but I think some egos were bruised on the (student) side.”

The final match pitted a faculty and staff squad (the “Old School Ballas”) against a younger, more athletic student team, featuring several varsity athletes. Surprisingly, the real “seniors” on the floor were able to outwit and defeat their younger opponents. The match left the largely student crowd exhausted, after several cheers and chants failed to rally their classmates to victory. The scheduled best-of-five finals was called after the faculty took their third win in game number four.

Fothergill credits the idea and the execution of the dodgeball tournament to student council President Rachel Schulteis.

“I give the students all the credit for such a fantastic idea, but Rachel really made it all happen,” Fothergill said.

“She was terrific in putting it all together.”

Schulteis, a junior, said her initial hope for the event was to raise a number that approached $4,000. After she returned to school from winter break, she began sacrificing sleep in order to work six hours a night on her computer working to make the fundraiser a reality. Schulteis said the question now isn’t whether or not the students would be willing to participate in future dodgeball tournaments in the future for charitable causes; it’s a matter of the faculty’s desire to put themselves in a compromising position.

“The students would love to see more,” Schulteis said. “It really all depends on what will motivate the faculty to get out and defend their crown.”

In the immortal words of Torrance Shipman: Bring It On.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Cleaver Brings "Pundit Payola" to KC

The issue of 'pundit payola' has finally hit Kansas City and put the town on the map!!!!

The issue first came up in Monday's KC Star via an AP report. The issue centers on none other than Kansas City golden boy Emanual Cleaver.

Will Cleaver's practice of hiring one of The Kansas City Call's reporters as a 'consultant' during his 2004 campaign come back to haunt him? Not if Steve Kraske and the Kansas City Star can help.

Cleaver doesn't apologize for bankrolling Eric Wesson, a writer and columnist with The Call (KC's African-American newspaper). Then again, the guy never has had to apologize in a town where his media apologists speak for him. The Star’s Steve Kraske (the article’s author) is no different.

Wesson said his work with Cleaver through his firm "One Goal Consultants" (a company he owns) was separate from his work at The Call. However, Editor & Publisher reported today that Wesson's editorials last fall did in fact praise Cleaver while criticizing his opponents (Democrat Jamie Metzl and Republican Jeanne Patterson). Readers of Wesson's work with The Call were unaware that he was being paid by Cleaver's campaign.

Kraske and the Star were hoping to NEVER have to address the situation. But when the Washington Post reported on the arrangement this week, the Star was forced to do something with the story.

The funny thing about Kraske's piece this morning, is that by the article's end, the reader walks away with the sense that it was just Wesson, not Cleaver and Co., who was responsible for blurring ethical boundaries. Whereas, the Wash. Post, Editor & Publisher, as well as the Pitch's reporting of the arrangement last fall, all place equal blame for the covert agreement on Cleaver's shoulders.

Would this have to do anything with the fact that Kraske worked for 2+ years at KCUR (their shows ran back-to-back on Friday afternoons)?

Kraske and the Star have never addressed the fact that he (their primary reporter of local politics) was allowed to cover Cleaver's 5th District race last fall. My contact with the Star's reader's rep. last year centered on this conflict of interest between the two radio superstars. Derek Donovan (surprise, surprise) said he did not perceive any problems with the arrangement.

The story has spread like wildfire out west in S.F., Seattle, and across the Midwest. The only question now is whether Cleaver will be as bulletproof in D.C. as he was in K.C.

According to Wesson, none of this was a conflict of interest for The Call. After all, it's an advocacy newspaper.

The Call should come forth with any other financial agreements it's workers have undertaken in the past with local politicians or policy campaigns. In a KCTV5 story last fall, The Call said it was disappointed with the story being investigated, rather than being taken back by Wesson's acceptance of money from the Cleaver campaign.

This afternoon on Russ Johnson's talk show on News Radio 980 KMBZ, Johnson spoke about Wesson's checkered past which included: "a criminal record for robbery, carjacking and other assorted crimes. He served 10 years in prison."