It’s Friday Favorites at jimmycsays. We gathered the staff together, went over some of the New York Times and Kansas City Star stories that stood out this week, and then we voted on awards in various categories.
I’ll have you (few) cynics out there know that we have an equal number of conservatives and liberals on the staff. (I’m not at liberty to reveal their names or how many there are, but trust me, it’s a pitch-perfect, ideological balance.)
To quote the late, great Jackie Gleason…”And away we go!”
Courage and Valor (1):
Sen. Dianne Feinstein chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. She plowed through many obstacles, including opposition from Secretary of State John Kerry, before succeeding in getting the committee’s detainee-torture report released. “My words give me no pleasure,” she said, beginning her Senate speech detailing the high(low)lights (rectal feeding???) of the report…The lady is 81 years old. Talk about personal strength…
Courage and Valor (2):
Sen. John McCain, who fought in the Vietnam War and was tortured when held hostage in North Vietnam. McCain staunchly supported releasing the report, and in so doing effectively neutralized the whining and hair-pulling opposition of some of his Republican colleagues. On the Senate floor, he argued that the U.S. shouldn’t resort to torture not just because they’re ineffective and potentially dangerous but because they undermine the nation’s values and beliefs. “I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn’t about our enemies; it’s about us. It’s about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It’s about how we represent ourselves to the world.” If McCain had stayed true to his maverick self in 2008, he might have been elected president.
Counter Puncher of the Week
Sen. Majority Leader (soon to be Minority Leader) Harry Reid. In an interview with the New York Times, Reid indicated he was itching to go to the mat with the Republican majority that will take over Jan. 6. “They want to eviscerate Clean Air, Clean Water, E.P.A…Is there enough they can do to help Wall Street? I don’t think so. Big banks? I don’t think so. That’s where the new battle is going to be.” I can hardly wait. Uh-huh, yeah.
Scariest Boss (1)
Cho Hyun-ah, director (formerly) of in-flight service for Korean Air Lines. She blew a gasket when a flight attendant served her macadamia nuts without first asking her…and in an unopened package instead of on a plate. She summoned the chief flight attendant and grilled him on proper procedure, but he flunked. Cho ordered the plane, which was headed to the runway, to return to the gate, and then ordered the chief flight attendant off. The ensuing uproar on social and traditional media prompted Cho to resign as in-flight service director. However, Cho also happens to be the daughter of the chairman of the privately owned airline, and she kept her other job as a vice president. Bloggers ridiculed Cho for “going nuts over nuts.”
Scariest Boss (2)
Michael S. Jeffries, longtime c.e.o. of Abercrombie & Fitch. At age 70, he retired in the wake of the hip clothier’s dimming fortunes. Jeffries once said that Abercrombie was exclusionary and sought to attract only “the cool kids.” An NYT story said that employees traveling on the company’s Gulfstream jet had to greet Jeffries with “no problem” in response to any requests “and their uniform was dictated down to the boxer briefs.” I’m guessing my full-cut Dillard’s boxers would be a problem.
Judgment Call of the Week
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. The Star reported Wednesday that Baker filed felony animal-abuse and animal-neglect charges against a Northeast area woman in the shocking case of a Tibetan spaniel named Roadrunner. As a result of the alleged abuse, which defendant Kimberly Anderson denies, Roadrunner had to have his eyes surgically removed and a plate inserted to repair a broken pelvis. Authorities had issued Anderson a municipal citation, which would have carried a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. Now, with the filing of superseding state charges, she’s facing the possibility of more than a year in prison. A KC animal shelter employee told me recently that Roadrunner is doing well in foster care and, amazingly to me, showing no signs of psychological trauma. An animal shelter employee is planning to adopt the little guy.
Local Reporter of the Week
The Star’s Laura Bauer, who has relentlessly pursued the back story in the drowning of 20-year-old Brandon Ellingson of Iowa. Brandon was bounced off Missouri Highway Trooper Anthony Piercy’s patrol boat in the Lake of the Ozarks and drowned after Piercy arrested Brandon for boating while intoxicated. Bauer had an investigative piece in Sunday’s paper that clearly showed what a debacle the Highway Patrol-Water Patrol merger has been and how ridiculously little training some highway officers received before being assigned to water duty.
Bauer has done such a tremendous job overall that I think her stories could be in play for a 2014 Poo-Litzer Prize. Nevertheless, this award comes with a caveat. In Sunday’s story, Bauer lamely granted anonymity to two retired Water Patrol officers who were critical of the merger. She let them off the hook on the old “fear of repercussions” claim. Huh? What repercussions? Their public-employee pensions are as good as gold, and nobody with the state has any authority over them. That would be like somebody interviewing me for a critical story on The Star and I requested anonymity for fear of repercussions. Hah! Come and get me!