Tuesday was a terrible day to be in the news business. With every story we delivered, we could feel you moving closer to the ledge.
So this morning, here's a quick -- very quick -- sampling of things to bring you back.
The National Honor Society kids in Marshall had a blood drive. Rae Kupferschmidt's funeral was scheduled, then the Lake Elmo woman (and wife of an aviation acquaintance of mine) woke up from her coma. A California artist promotes Kindness Week with a stop in Bemidji (reg. required for link). The kids appear to have gotten the message. A jogger in the Twin Cities saves a child from freezing to death. And, of course, Uno. I dare you to look at this pup and not feel better.(3 Comments)
hittings hearings on Capitol Hill have gotten ugly. Roger Clemens, the once-future Hall of Famer and his primary accuser, trainer Brian McNamee are testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. You can watch the hearing here.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., had no problem getting McNamee to admit that he's been a liar in the past, appearing to be serving up a soft pitch to former Red Sox star Clemens. Then, he did what congresspeople do best: he hung Clemens on his own words, asking Clemens to explain discrepancies in his assertion that he never talked to McNamee about injecting HGH (human growth hormone), and getting Clemens to acknowledge that he had a heated conversation with McNamee after he found out the trainer injected Clemens' wife in his bedroom when he wasn't there (which brought up a whole 'nother image that's best left alone).
In a matter of seconds, Clemens looked like a liar, too.
Getting a pass from today's hearing is New York Yankee pitcher Andy Pettite (Tangent: where are those New York fans who got on the New England Patriots case a couple of weeks ago for cheating, anyway?).. Pettitte is another accuser of Clemens, but his lawyers got him off the TV hotseat, saying Pettite did not want to provide negative information about his former longtime friend in public.
Updates as necessary:
11:04 a.m. Rep. Tom Davis, R-Virginia to McNamee: Why did you dispense drugs you knew to be illegal?
McNamee: I just figured it was the norm and culture of baseball.
Davis: How prevalent was it?
McNamee: Within the players it was pretty prevalent.
11:16 a.m. - Clemens just told Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, that he was injected with B-12 (legal) and when asked what color the substance was, he said "red and pink." About 45 minutes ago, Clemens could not recall a family vacation in Florida, vaguely recalling that his wife might've been in a golf foursome with him, but he had no idea where his kids were. And that was right after he said he remembered details of a 17-inning Toronto Blue Jay game around the same time.
11:24 a.m. - "The depositions this committee will release later today," said Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., "will be devastating."
11:32 a.m. Clemens tosses a dart at McNamee, who testified earlier that he "made" Roger Clemens. "In 1998, I had the triple crown in pitching. I had over 200 wins by 1998. I didn't meet him until 1999." Clemens talks about losing a sister-in-law to drugs, talks about his brother who pulled his son out of college for using marijuana. "Someone's trying to break my spirit in this room," he said. "You can tell your boys that I did it the right way," Clemens said to Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., who stopped short of asking Clemens for an autograph.
11:42 a.m. - Chair Henry Waxman suggests Clemens got in touch with a nanny of his kids, who the committee was apparently looking for, and had him over to his house after not seeing her for 7 years. Waxman suggests Clemens was getting her story straight before the committee found her.
11:43 a.m. - Some of the committee reports and statements are being put up as pdf files on the committee Web site. But no depositions yet.
11:52 a.m. - Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton to Clemens: "I'm sure you're going to heaven." Because?
12:23 p.m. - After a lunch break, Rep. Davis works the "nanny angle." Clemens says he got in touch with her because the committee couldn't. The context is whether the nanny can verify that Clemens wasn't at a party thrown by baseball drug user Jose Canseco, during which, it's alleged, players discussed their use of steroids and drugs. "I know one thing: I wasn't there working out a drug deal," said Clemens, who says he wasn't there at all.
12:27 p.m. The Chicago Tribune has just posted Rick Morrissey's column:
Many of you don't care if he used performance-enhancing drugs to be the best he could be, in the same way many of you don't care if some of the SI models turned to surgery in the hope of being more attractive.
But it has to give you pause, doesn't it, when you find yourself trying to decide what's real and what's fake in a person? I can hear thousands of voices, most of them male: No, it doesn't!
12:33 p.m. -- It turns out that lots of congressional folks asked Clemens for his autograph during his blitz of the Capitol. They may have violated ethics rules, but not because they buddied up to someone they were investigating.
1:33 p.m. - We've pretty much reached the "I've got to say something clever to make the nightly news" portion of the hearing. So the questioning from the pols isn't particularly illuminating.
1:40 p.m. - In closing his hearing, Waxman sends bouquets and kisses to McNamee, and pats the committee on the back for its work on the issue.(1 Comments)
Posted at 2:35 PM on February 13, 2008
by Bob Collins
Do you want it to be a truthful account of who you were? Or do you want it to gloss over your warts and tuck a little here and there?
Perhaps you've sat at a funeral and heard the eulogy and thought, "wow, why can't I be as good?"
The eulogy is a memorial. The obituary is a news story.
On the Washington Post's Post Mortem blog (yep, it's written by the obituary writers), Joe Holley kicks around this question of truth vs. memorial, and provides some decoding of the language, at least so far as the London Telegraph.
"Convivial," for example, meant the deceased was habitually drunk. "A powerful negotiator" was his description for a bully. "An uncompromisingly direct ladies' man" was Massingberd's euphemism for a flasher.
Following up on yesterday's news item about a woman in Ulen, Minn., who wanted to keep her duck in defiance of a city ordinance: the City Council voted 3-1 last night to allow
Monika Spitzmiller to keep the duck, named Houdini. She had to get license -- a duck license? -- and provide proof from a vet that the duck is healthy.
Occasionally, there are news stories that come along that might make one initially sit up and say, "yeah, so?"
Here's one today that fits the bill:
WABASHA, Minn. (AP) ― An unmarried fifth-grade teacher at a Catholic school in Wabasha is out of a job because she got pregnant.
Twenty-three year-old Emily Prigge of Lake City told her principal about her pregnancy last month. Prigge says the principal and a priest asked her to resign last week, and she did. Her pregnancy is about 15 weeks along.
Prigge was in her first year on the job at St. Felix school. When she took the job she signed a Catholic Christian Witness Statement, where she agreed to be a good example as a Christian in her personal and academic life. Prigge, who is Catholic, says she was told she didn't live up to the statement because she had premarital sex.
Officials at the school and the Diocese of Winona have declined
Yeah, so...is it news that someone who violated a signed condition of employment gets fired? The comments section of the article in the Rochester Post Bulletin, which "broke" the story, suggests it's gotten under some folks' skin.
Back when I was in high school, the class president got pregnant, and had to leave school and she was not allowed to graduate with her class. And she was the mayor's daughter. But that was a public school in 1972, and we can argue that public schools have no business bringing a religion-based doctrine into its employment policy.
The argument could be made here , however, that this is different. This is a teacher in a Catholic school, who is unmarried, and pregnant, in apparent violation of church doctrine. What's more, the teacher doesn't appear to be disputing the firing.
Something similar happened in New York back in 2005 and the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the school. An anti-abortion group, Feminists for Life, backed the woman's complaint. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled the firing violated constitutional rights and urged the two sides to cut a deal outside of court.
Had it gotten to court, however, it likely would've run up against historical roadblocks. In 2006, the New York Times documented this in a story, "Where Faith Abides, Employees Have Few Rights."
Religious employers have long been shielded from all complaints of religious discrimination by an exemption that was built into the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and expanded in 1972. That historic exemption allows them to give preference in hiring to candidates who share their faith. In recent years, some judges have also refused to interfere when religious groups have dismissed lesbians, unwed mothers and adulterous couples, even if they profess the same faith, because they have violated their employers' religious codes.
In the New York case, William Donahue, the president of the Catholic League, defended the church's stance, especially given that it involved a teacher. He made his comments in a November 2005 interview on CNN.
"Let's say she's working with Catholic Charities or working for -- in the immigration office, and they fired her for this condition. I think then that could be problematic.
"But if you're a teacher and you're a role model, particularly with the little kids, how are you supposed to explain to the parents, by the way, who might say, 'well, let's see now, what's the alternative?' Let's say if the school did nothing. How do you explain as the principal to those parents who are paying their money expecting that a teacher is going to teach religion and abide by it that you're going to do nothing about it? You're going to have a laissez-faire attitude."
All of these, of course, are arguments Emily Prigge isn't making.(24 Comments)