In my daily scouring of The Star and The New York Times, I consistently come across highlights — and sometimes lowlights — that make me stop, re-read and note things to pass on to others.
In this case, that would be YOU, loyal readers.
So, here goes — first on the local front.
:: Hereford House arson
Can you believe we had such a slimy but juicy case right here in Kansas City? You’d think it would be something out of Chicago or Miami — one of Kansas City’s most famous restaurants being torched for insurance money?
Mark Morris, federal courts reporter, provided his usual, outstanding trial coverage. The most compelling testimony, to me, was Jennifer Sorrentino’s testimony that her former husband, Mark Sorrentino, came home early the morning of the fire and started “screaming from the top of his lungs” for her to come to the garage.
When she entered the garage, she said, she found her husband “beet red,” with his shirt off and reeking of gasoline.
Wow…Could there be any more dramatic account of what a nasty, nasty business arson is…even from the perp’s side?
Another trial highlight was testimony (which you might have missed because Morris didn’t write about until the verdict story), that the company providing security at the restaurant had planted a dummy video camera in one room and had placed the real, working camera in another. Even Rod Anderson, part owner of the restaurant and the most prominent of the three defendants, didn’t know about the set-up, and it ended up hurting him.
According to testimony, Anderson learned about the second camera in a conversation with the restaurant group’s chief financial officer, James Stanislav. When Stanislav was on the witness stand, a prosecutor asked him how Anderson reacted upon learning about the second camera. “He was somewhat surprised,” was Stanislav’s answer.
Surprised? I bet his eyes bulged and his stomach flipped.
Now, onto the national arena, which, of course, is awash in politics.
About once a week, dueling New York Times columnists David Brooks (moderate conservative) and Gail Collins (full-blown liberal) engage in an online give-and-take, which is consistently funny and insightful.
Recently, when they were predicting how they thought some of the key races might would out, they engaged in this exchange:
Brooks: “I think there will be one or two wild results. Like Akin winning in Missouri…”
Collins: “If Akin wins, I will personally set up a charitable foundation to help humiliated Missourians move to another state. There are a lot of jobs in North Dakota.”
I also got a kick out of this Collins commentary in both the printed and online editions:
“Romney is bringing half the Republican Party to Ohio to kick off the new ‘Romney-Ryan Real Recovery Road Rally.’ Everybody’s coming — Ann, the sons, Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan’s wife who we have yet to actually meet, Rudy Giuliani, a couple of Olympic medalists and pretty much every Republican elected official except He Who Must Not Be Named in New Jersey…Sudden plans for a road trip are usually the sign of a pressing need to escape reality.”
By now, my army of conservative readers is probably jumping up and down, thinking I’ve exposed myself as an unrelenting liberal. Well, hold it right there! (as s a prominent local blogger friend of mine would say).
Here are three withering (and funny) observations offered up by the entertaining and erudite George Will of The Washington Post.
:: “Obama’s oceanic self-esteem — no deficit there — may explain why he seems to smolder with resentment that he must actually ask for a second term.”
:: “Tis said two things not worth running after are a bus or an economic panacea, because another will come along soon. Obama’s panacea is to cure what he considers government’s unconscionable frugality.”
:: “It is remarkable…and evidence of voters’ dangerous frivolity regarding the vice presidency, that (Joe) Biden’s proximity to the presidency has not stirred more unease.”
Finally, a grab-bag column like this would hardly be complete without a reference to our beloved, bumbling Kansas City Chiefs.
This is not from print but from Soren Petro, host of “The Program” on radio station 810, WHB.
Last week, Petro was talking with Kansas City Star reporter Adam Teicher, who has covered the Chiefs for about 15 years. Petro put Teicher on the spot, asking him why Chiefs’ General Manager Scott Pioli shouldn’t be fired immediately. Teicher, whom you could almost envision squirming in his chair — it can be very difficult and self-defeating for beat writers to bash the people they work around every day — tried to rationalize why Pioli should not be fired, at least right now.
As recently as a couple of months ago, before the Chiefs showed their true colors, Teicher noted, most people probably would have predicted that the Chiefs were going to have a good season and that Piolo seemed, at that point, to be doing a good job. So why, Teicher suggested, should a guy who recently seemed to be doing so well be fired so quickly.
Without missing a beat, Petro fired back, “Half an hour before the battle, Custer thought he was going to kick ass, too.”