Thursday, April 18

Thursday Olio: Dark-Skinned Like Me Edition

• Explain to me how ABC let Jake Tapper get away.

I switched on CNN mid-afternoon yesterday, having just been alerted that the world record for running backwards was in danger of being broken. I got there in time to see 1) John "Scoop" King claim that everybody had been doing it, not just he; 2) another reporter insist that the "really important thing" was that the police make a solid case; and 3) King, again, noting that now, he emphasized now, the FBI was saying officially that no one had been arrested.

To which I may have shouted 1) "Not sure if everyone was claiming to have an exclusive, but you sure were"; 2) "Now you tell us"; and 3) "What was the official story all along, John?" The FBI certainly hadn't announced an arrest while you were scooping all the other idiots.

Speaking of which, this was followed by the Jake Tapper Goodtime Hour. Jake was joined by comedian Tom Ridge. This is a question:
We know, of course, Secretary Ridge, that the London marathon, they are now taking extra precautions because of what happened here, just a block or so away, uh, here in Boston, and in the very near future we're going to see huge crowds at the Indy 500, at the Kentucky Derby; how do we, as a society, and how does the Federal government keep people safe at these massive events?

I guess everybody's been asking that question. It's just that most of us used six or seven words, tops.

Here was the sign-off:
All right, former Pennsylvania governor, veteran, and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, thanks so much for joining us.

I know, I suffer from buffo italic incontinence, but that's really the way he said "veteran". Th' hell was responsible for that? Do Ridge's people insist it be included in his litany of honoraria and sinecures? Is that just part of Tapper's oral sex technique? Were they too short to fit "member of the Home Depot Board of Directors" in there? A few glazing techniques for all those blown-out windows couldn't hurt, could it?

• When last we viewed the historic grain silo in Carmel, Indiana, Indianapolis' neighbor to the Great White North, it was a pile of rubble lying next to the Monon Trail, whence it had been knocked, in such a hurry (over fears that the local Save Our Silo movement might actually interfere with development) that no one bothered to notice the large quantity of pesticides that had once been stored inside, and now was stored, rather more randomly, in the vicinity. This put the ki-bosh on the development deal the mayor and his pals had made with some of his other pals, so they had to find some different pals to make a deal with, after cleaning the site up. Possibly.

The new deal is with Pedcor Development, which reportedly has done a lot of development work in Carmel over the last decade, but which, it turns out, might have a hint of the tar brush:
Pedcor, the city’s partner in much of its redevelopment over the past decade, is known to be a developer of Section 42 projects, which use tax credits to provide for rent-controlled, affordable housing.

Saying "affordable" in Carmel is a lot like saying "radioactive" elsewhere. So the City council, which, in fairness, does have a black friend, wants more information before signing off on Industrial Recovery Tax Credits, a state program that sluices the redevelopment of old industrial areas via local kingpins.

Such as, wonder of wonders, the  one piece of real estate along the Monon Trail that Carmel hasn't developed already.
[Councilwoman Lucy] Snyder [said] at a council meeting Monday night, “My concerns, for this or any other project in this area — just north of City Center and the Palladium, and south of the Arts and Design District — is that whatever is proposed is of high quality both in design and materials.

I guess it's lucky you built the water tower next door, and the adjacent Public Works sheds, a while back. Before the price of gold skyrocketed.
Snyder said she thinks a Section 42 proposal might be questionable, given the location. She said she is not opposed to such a project in Carmel but said it might be better suited for another area, such as the Old Meridian corridor.

Right. Or Dumptown. Or the Historic Lead Paint Quarter. Or Somewhere Th' Hell Out of Hamilton County. 
Tax support is best used, Snyder said, for major projects that will bring more jobs to the city. 
“You tell me,” she said. “How is a project like that considered a job-producing project?”
These are the same people who signed a blank check to build an Arts Palace, which so far has produced a half-million-a-year job for Michael Feinstein, some gainful, if temporary, employment for the former mistress of the former CEO, plus some ticket takers and concessionaires, who live god knows where. They're the same people who signed off on millions of dollars of roundabout construction, because stoplights are for little people. And "construction jobs" were part of the sales pitch. They're $250 million in debt, that they admit to, and the official position on that is "Who cares? We're rich!" I'm not making that up.

Didn't there used to be some sort of Federal regulation about housing discrimination?

• Speaking of things blowing up, West Fertilizer Co. did, taking West, Texas, with it, despite the fact that its EPA report said the greatest risk at the plant was a worker improperly refrigerating an egg salad sandwich.

This morning CBS had on Bill Flores, Texas Congressman, which is a nice way of saying "Insane". And Norah O'Donnell, which is a nice way of saying "Hairdo", sorta asked him about it, kinda. You know, leaving out that if it were up to Bill Flores there'd be no EPA, an' stuff:
Well, y'know, those estimates are based on systems operating as they should, and you never know, uh, what mechanical problem may have occurred or if there was a human mistake, a human error that caused, uh, some, uh, uh, mix of chemicals to get together to start this fire. Once the fire starts then uh, uh, any EP, any estimate made to the EPA is not gonna necessarily be valid.

Yes, estimates of potential risk assumes everything functioning perfectly. Tell us something we don't know.

Flores was generous enough to thank John Boehner for sending in FEMA, despite Texas' aversion to Federal assistance.

• Speaking of broadcasting pictures of your naked ass, it appears now that much hinges on who owns the ox, and who the pike:
Three Fairfax County high school students made cellphone videos of drunken sex acts with fellow teens and shared them among themselves, authorities said. When they go on trial Thursday, they face a charge usually reserved for adult predators: child pornography. 
The case is one of a number in Virginia where teens caught “sexting” have been charged with a felony that can carry a sentence of 20 years in prison and could require registry as a sex offender. 
In Virginia, Maryland and many other states, the law has not caught up with the combustible mix of teens, technology and sex that has made sexting an issue. Prosecutors must rely on a patchwork of laws created before the rise of smart­phones to handle such cases.
I'm sorry; caught up with?
Some parents and rights groups are calling for a new law that would distinguish sexting from child pornography, create lesser punishments and focus on educating teenagers, not punishing them. But they also acknowledge that young victims can be devastated when embarrassing photos or videos are spread among their peers.

Well, that's big of 'em. Especially since it's "parents and rights groups" which pushed for strict child pornography laws in the first place, because of the victims.

This is why we have a juvenile justice system. It's also why our laws are designed to protect the innocent. No judge should sentence a teen sexter to 20 years for something innocent and kid-foolish. But no 15 or 16 year-old doesn't understand that taking surreptitious nude photos, or broadcasting them all over, is wrong, and criminally so. Cell phones don't make it any different. A cell phone is not a defense. Its what the courts ought to make those parents eat. In public.

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