Daily Briefs: Ethics Exam, Free Stuff From the Government, and Edwin Hall: A Balanced View



“I waited in gleeful anticipation as I watched the Missouri Ethics Commission’s sausage-sized fingers go up under the sheet. Trust me, it wasn’t too hard to tell when the commission hit its mark as it was the exact same moment that I saw Funk’s eyes bulge out of his head. Sadly for me, my sadistic laughter was very short-lived.”

%{[ data-embed-type=”image” data-embed-id=”57150c4289121ca96b960866″ data-embed-element=”aside” ]}%• The Kansas City Star‘s “High, Hard and Inside” Yael Abouhalkah is against proposed water rate increases in Kansas City to pay for a new overflow plan. And considering that he’s also against a sales tax that would benefit the Area Transportation Authority, it’s a good bet that he won’t accept sales taxes as a revenue source for the water department, either. He’s even marshaling Johnson County residents, our suburban overclass, in his battle against higher sewage rates.

At this point, a writer with a lower testosterone count might challenge Abouhalkah’s position using rhetoric, a writer’s tool they teach up at the junior college. But I actually agree with everything he says — I don’t want to pay more for sewers or anything else. All government services should be completely cost-free and painless and should preferably come with some kind of foil-wrapped mint.

Again: A writer with a beret and a sunken chest would follow up with rhetoric. Beard-stroking crap like, “Yes, everyone likes to get their sewer for free. But in the real world, the sewer costs money.” I am not that writer. Like Yael Abouhalkah, I sincerely want everything — sewers, food, cable television, algae body-wrap treatments, auto-body collision repair and hydrocodone tablets, to name a few of the many, many things I want for free — to be provided by the government at absolutely no cost to me. This is not a trick or rhetoric. If you would like to give me things for free, please send me an email.

• The defense team for Edwin Hall, accused of the murder of Kelsey Smith last summer, believes that prosecutors are withholding evidence that may exonerate their client. It’s an emotional issue, but we’ll address it by using a journalism technique called “balance.” As taught at Vatterot J-school and practiced by The Kansas City Star, “balance” means presenting two polar-opposite viewpoints and assuming that the truth must be “somewhere in the middle.” In other words, truth is a Rhonda Chriss Lokeman/E. Thomas McLanahan sandwich. I know it sounds weird, but here’s an example of balance.

From the left, a filthy hippie from The Kansas City Star‘s comments section:



From the right, H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu, evil priest of the Great Old Ones, who lived ages before there were any men and who came to the young world out of the sky:


“Ia Ia Azathoth! Ia Ia Yog Sothoth! Ia Ia Nyarlathotep! Ia Ia, Shub Niggurath! Ia Ia Odhra-guoa! Ia Ia Tasthogguoa!”

The truth falls somewhere in the middle.

• The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City indicted two Chinese businesses and a U.S. company Wednesday for importing tainted pet food from China last year. Suzhou Textiles, an export broker that mislabeled 800 metric tons of tainted wheat gluten, I would like to wish you a HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! The year 4705 was a complete bitch, so good luck in 4706!

Area teenagers to quit having sex, babies.

• A heartless thief stole fairy costumes from a toddler dance studio in Sedalia. The thought of all those little girls — and, hell, for all I know, boys — performing their upcoming recital in their street onesies or their Huggies Pull-Ups adult diapers for toddlers stabs my heart right in its face. And as far as I’m concerned, any kid out there wearing a stolen fairy princess costume isn’t really a fairy princess — more like a fairy gutter-thug. KMBC’s Fairy Crime Correspondent Jim Flink reports from Sedalia.

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