Thursday, June 5, 2008

Daily Briefs: Creating a hostile work environment for the news since January 2008

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 10:11 AM

By CHRIS PACKHAM

"Hot tamales"? Really? As a lily-white privileged trust-fund debutante who nibbles on Pepperidge Farm sweet biscuits while enjoying reruns of Mad About You, it's obvious that I'm not in a position to know anything much about black America.

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If you ever talk to me on the phone or somehow manage to get me to make eye contact and talk to me in person, you'll immediately realize that my voice sounds exactly like the nasally white voice that black comedians use to make fun of white people, and that Jaleel White used to portray Urkel. But, uh, one thing I know for sure is that when you want to make fun of somebody — which is kind of a hobby of mine, like model railroading — it's usually best to steer clear of race-based commentary.

The point: Ruth Bates has filed her lawsuit against brobdingnagian Mayor Mark Funkhouser and his comparatively lilliputian spouse, Gloria Squitiro, alleging an "objectively hostile" work environment and a variety of unfunny racially insensitive and sexually tinged comments. The Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, has released a red-band PDF of the lawsuit that's too hot for theaters. Gloria Squitiro, you are the best (not the best) at the funny jokes of hilarious comedy.

After the jump, some stuff about Kansas City's unleaded air quality, and a gambling blog that might just surprise you. Click on the kid-size link here, or the Swanson's Hungry Man link here.

Smell the carbon monoxide: The EPA has begun monitoring air quality in the area after Tuesday's huge-ass, fiery-ass, smoky-ass inferno at the Magellan Midstream pipeline terminal. And I'm all like, "If that was just a giant tank of unleaded gas, isn't that smoke the same as normal auto emissions?" And my girlfriend is all, "Cars have catalytic converters," and I'm like, "What do you know about car stuff?" And she's all, "I know catalytic converters reduce the toxicity of auto emissions." So, obviously, I'm living with a global warming denier, which came as quite a shock. A quick battery of questions determined that (A) She has never been a member of the John Birch society, (B) She does not agree with stinky old Ayn Rand that the poors should be turned out into the wilderness to fend for themselves, and (C) She does not support laissez-faire economic liberalism or abolishing Mexicans. "But still," I said, "you think global warming is a hoax."

"No, I don't," she replied. How she squares that with all her talk about catalytic converters I have no idea; I just threw my hands in the air and stormed theatrically out of the room.

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At least the fire shouldn't have any short-term effect on area gas prices. According to Midwest Voices blogger Ross Balano — who has begun to fill the Ed Anger-shaped hole in my heart since The Weekly World News folded — Democrats are to blame for rising gas prices. And that makes him pretty mad! But does it make him pig-biting mad? I think you hear where I'm coming from, Ross Balano. I hope you're not writing for the Star's blog for free; make them put you on the payroll, bud.

Speaking of the Star and blogs: Via Pitch freelancer Chris Rasmussen, a high-stakes gambler known in the port bars of Martinique simply as "The Tarantula" — but whose eye-patch is actually just to correct his amblyopia rather than to hide an empty socket — The Kansas City Star has a gambling blog called Lucky Numbers which I had absolutely no idea about! From the Lucky Numbers "About" page: "From Missouri Lottery odds to where to find the loosest riverboat slots, Lucky Numbers will strive to keep up with the freshest news, trends and developments locally, nationally and internationally."

The blog covers both real Telly Savalas casino gambling and Jesco White scratch-card gambling and is written by Rick Alm, the Star's gambling and tourism industries beat reporter. Since "Missouri Tourism" is one of those "military intelligence"-grade oxymorons old people like to slap their knees and laugh about while sitting around the cracker barrel whittling chunks of wood into dentures and talking about "Kaiser Bill" and "the big one," it's kind of fortunate for Rick Alm that Missouri has an actual gambling industry. Because it would be tough, writing about nothing but Branson's Yakov Smirnoff's American Pavilion all the time.

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