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Another seven days of fake construction, real border fences and helping bad kids

By Danny Cross · April 9th, 2008 · Worst Week Ever!
  It's worth it
It's worth it

Local politicians and business leaders participated in a classic white collar ritual today, digging with golden shovels at the site of the future Banks project to symbolize the beginning of construction. According to The Enquirer, Gov. Ted Strickland gave the project a nearly Biblical status, saying, "This is the day which the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. You can feel the energy in this place!" Others were more nonchalant and simply enjoyed pretending to be construction workers. Reds CEO Bob Castellini said, "This represents decades of hopes, dreams, headlines, anticipation and hard work," adding, "I can't wait to make mass money off of it."

The Bush administration has had enough of environmentalists and property owners getting in the way of the sweet fence it's currently building between the U.S. and Mexico. The administration used two legal waivers, both approved by Congress, to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations to continue the construction of 670 miles of fence in parts of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, according to the AP. Environmentalists are pissed because the fence is going to block endangered wildcats from crossing the Rio Grande to mate, but Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that if the cats can't jump the fence then natural selection should kick in. Many property owners along the border have put up signs that say stuff like "Nevermind the Dog, Beware of Owner," but the government has sued many of them in order to build on their land.

The state of Ohio has been mistreating many of the bad kids caught up in the juvenile detention system, and a settlement made last week requires that Ohio increase funding by $30 million to do things the right way. The Children's Law Center of Kentucky filed the suit in 2004 over such alleged abuses as excessive force and solitary confinement, according to The Enquirer. The extra funding will allow the hiring of 100 new guards who hopefully aren't dicks and additional staff members who will help the bad kids become good again.

Caving to pressure from the Obama campaign, Hillary Clinton decided to disclose just how rich she and her husband are by making their recent tax returns available to the public today. According to the AP, the Clintons earned $20.4 million last year and more than $109 million since 2000, with most of the income from Bill's really expensive motivational speeches. The Obamas were quick to divulge their measly $1 million in 2006 earnings to prove how middle class they are, but Hillary just laughed and said she could write a book in a single weekend and make more than that.

Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. said last week that he'll certainly not answer any questions about why one of his top aides was given a light charge for being drunk behind the wheel of a department car in a McDonald's drive-through March 14. The Enquirer last week submitted nine questions to the sheriff's office and said that Leis could take all the time he needed to make his answers sound good. But Leis said, "Hell naw," through his spokeswoman Gail Wright, who put it like this: "Under the law, we don't have to answer questions." The Big N' Tasty-loving aide is Maj. James Dattilo, 64, who retired from the Sheriff's office in 2001 and was immediately rehired so he could collect his pension along with his annual salary of $90,299. He lives in Green Township and enjoys it very much.

Just one week after nearly leading the Xavier basketball team to the Final Four, senior guard Drew Lavender did Muskie fans a grave disservice by getting himself arrested for being drunk and talking mass shit to police on Short Vine. Lavender was arrested at 2:15 a.m. Sunday for refusing to leave an intersection, and police found marijuana on him during the arrest. The incident is expected to upset Xavier fans, who regularly call UC players such terms as "horsepunchers" and "shit-talking head stompers." The last time Xavier fans faced such shame was in July when Lavender was arrested at a Main Street bar and accused of saying, "Fuck this white club," for which he paid a disorderly conduct fine and went back to playing basketball.

Just getting the Olympic torch to the summer games has turned into a raucous event straight out of the Extreme Games. According to the AP, French police have deployed 3,000 officers -- including jogging suit units and in-line skate forces -- to protect the torch from protesters of China's human rights abuses. Some protesters have tried to throw water on the flame, and in one instance a Green Party activist chased former 400-meter world champion Stephane Diagana because he was carrying the torch, but Diagana was much faster than the protester. The flame has actually been extinguished by security officials three times, but France's former sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour says there's a lantern inside it that continually burns with support for communism.

CONTACT DANNY CROSS: dcross@citybeat.com



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