Crime and Identity

There are many things to report today, though not many of them could be properly classified as "news." More like "stills." As in, the Sun-Sentinel is still scared to print the names of teenagers in their stories and mysterious white powder is still popping up in public places.

That first one, though, is bugging me. The Sentinel's Sallie James tells us about a kid from Parkland -- who I found is living in a neighborhood of half-million dollar homes -- and going to the elite, private American Heritage school in Plantation who stole his next-door neighbor's identity to steal money to pay for his cell phone and credit card bills. If ever a devious little 14-year-old punk ever deserved to be publicly humiliated, this is it. But no, even as he stole people's identities for his own gain, the Sentinel chose to protect his own. This sounds like a job for the Pulp, so expect more later.

Ah, what else. Oh yeah, the Miami Herald started a crime blog this week in the vein of the Palm Beach Post's "Behind the Yellow Tape." It's rather unimaginatively called "Crime Scene" and it brings us all more up close and personal with the hard-working crime gals at the Herald, aka Jennifer Mooney Piedra, Wanda J. DeMarzo, Diana Moskovitz, Kathleen McGrory, and Erica Beras. The lone dude among them is David Ovalle, a dandy reporter who works down in Miami. Some decent stuff on there so far, including something about the Broward Sheriff's Office propaganda blog called "Setting the Record Straight" which I've been meaning to write about since Stuck On The Palmetto gave it a mention a while back.

The sheriff's office took umbrage at a story I did titled "Cuckoo for Coconuts"a few weeks ago about the BSO takeover of fire services in the town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. You can read their rebuttal here. They say they didn't take over the LBTS volunteer fire department, yet it was BSO who terminated its contract with the vols. And later in the story I make it clear that the equipment taken by BSO was owned by the town, not by the VFD.

Worth keeping an eye on, that blog.

After the jump: Editorialists Still Blowing It On Iraq and Dave Chappelle Is My Hero.

-- There's really no sense in breaking down the Sun-Sentinel's long, long editorial this morning on Iraq. Mainly because there's no sense in the editorial itself. Look, the situation in Iraq, allegorically, is sort of like a car stuck in the mud. The ignorant but headstrong driver keeps gunning the engine, spinning the wheels. But that only sets the tires deeper into the muck. His passengers, realizing their situation is getting worse, all want to try another way, maybe get some chains and pull it out. But the driver tells them all to go fuck themselves and keeps gunning the engine.

Bush, of course, is the driver, and we're all the passengers. And here you have the editorial board -- I suppose I have to single out relatively new editorial editor Antonio Fins -- saying: Let's let him hit the gas for another few months. The essay, which is written in a downtrodden and defeated voice, is sad, pathetic, mealy-mouthed, and cowardly. It basically says, "Yes the Bush plan is doomed, but we can't think of anything better."

The Herald editorial on the same matter is much more pointed and strong. It clearly explains some of the reasons the Bush "surge" is sending us "deeper into the darkness." But it ends this way:

"It would be wrong for Congress to deny funds to President Bush's war effort. After all, he is the commander in chief. But lawmakers must insist that plans be drawn up now to begin a phased withdrawal from Iraq if the new strategy fails. Mr. Maliki, the clock is ticking."

Yes, let's put the onus on Maliki, who is proven to be ineffective at best. We don't want to get into a debate about denying funds. We just need to kick the driver right out of the car.

-- I've been paying for a Sundance/Showtime pacakage on DirecTV for a few months now (started to see The Hill, a documentary show about Congressman Robert Wexler's staff that turned out to be mediocre at best). Not a day goes by that I don't wonder why I haven't canceled it. I guess Dexter was a decent show. Occasionally, Masters of Horror is passable. But it's not worth whatever I'm paying.

Then last night I flipped on the Sundance show Iconoclasts. It's just two celebrities talking for an hour. The shows I've seen haven't been very good. Fiona Apple and Quentin Tarantino. Paul Simon and Lorne Michaels. Whatever. Those shows were pretty much crap. Then last night I caught the one with Dave Chappelle and the amazing Maya Angelou. It was great TV, especially since Chappelle, who just flat knows how to make people laugh, talked about why he walked away from his Comedy Central show (and $50 million).

The reason was pretty simple: It didn't feel real anymore to him. His give-and-take with his audience seemed artificial. They laughed at the wrong times. And his corporate overlords constantly -- and suggestively -- exposed their penises to him during business meetings, figuratively speaking. It was hilarious and totally genuine. They also talked about the N-word, namely whether it should ever be spoken. Angelou is deeply against the word, Chappelle is one of its most prolific utterers (I side with Maya, by the way).

I left the show with a deeper respect for Chappelle -- and Angelou, for that matter. So I guess I'll hold onto the subscription for another week.

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