PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A T-ball coach allegedly paid one of his players $25 to hurt an 8-year-old mentally disabled teammate so he wouldn't have to put the boy in the game, police said Friday. Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, is accused of offering one of his players the money to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability. Police said the boy was hit in the head and in the groin with a baseball just before a game, and didn't play, police said. "The coach was very competitive," state police Trooper Thomas B. Broadwater said. "He wanted to win."
at 11:27 AM
As Hurricane Emily heads (possibly) to the Texas coast, it occurs to me that we are far more interested in the anticipation of a hurricane than the damage it causes. After all, it was wall to wall coverage of the impending onslaught of Dennis last Sunday but by Monday afternoon, we could care less about the damage it caused.
at 11:19 AM
Reports are that Eminem will stop touring and stop recording after the end of this years Anger Management tour. Somehow, this white rapper will go out as the best-selling hip-hop artist of all time. His four solo studio albums have sold more than 25 million copies in the U.S. alone and generated more than $1 billion worth of records. Nevertheless, the announcement of his retirement just made my weekend a success.
at 10:50 AM
Here are two golf rules: (1) if you hit a ball as it begins to move, it is a one stroke penalty, and (2) if you sign your scorecard with an incorrect score, you are disqualified from the tournament. During the first round of the British Open, David Toms believed he putted a golf ball that had begun to move. He said nothing. No one saw it. He signed his score card without including a one stroke penalty. The next morning he tells course officials what had happened and voluntarily disqualifies himself from one of the biggest golf tournanments of the year. I love stuff like this.
at 6:23 PM
Ok, what do you think: She's (1) 37 years old, (2) has seven children, (3) she just gave birth, (4) she gave birth while having an alcohol content of nearly four times the legal limit, (5) the baby had an alcohol concentration of .21 (nearly three times the limit), and (6) when asked what she might name the child, she replied "maybe 'Milwaukee's Best'". But, then again, she is quite the looker. Source: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0715051tanner1.html
at 12:03 PM
Lakewood Church of Houston, led by televangelist and best-selling author Joel Osteen, has grown so much in recent years that this weekend it will expand into a new building: the former Compaq Center / Home of the Houston Rockets which holds 16,500. What's amazing is that the arena may be too small. The church averages 32,500 every Sunday. I wonder if the really good Christians get to sit in the luxury suites?
at 8:34 AM
The new Harry Potter book is coming out this weekend and, get this, it is a whopping 672 pages. Many people credit the Potter series for getting kids back into books. That's good news for dads everywhere - that PlayStation 2 will be free for hours over the next few weeks. But then I see the new Pope has condemned the book as anti-Christian. He "believes the Harry Potter books subtly seduce young readers and 'distort Christianity in the soul' before it can develop properly." Sheesh. My kid is smart enough to read 672 pages but he'll burn in hell because of it? "Junior, put that book down and go turn on Sponge Bob. Daddy's got to figure all this out - right after SportsCenter."
at 5:16 PM
So you are out on the night of the 4th of July watching a fireworks display. Music is being played in the background by the sponsors of the event and now it's time for the grand finale. They fire up God Bless the U.S.A. and, low and behold, the song has "voice overs" from 9/11. One voice on the tape mix said, "Oh my God, another plane has just hit." Another said, "Some of the casualties are in the collapsed building." Are you offended? Apparently you are in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where city officials had to issue an apology. The only thing I'd be upset about would be if that version of God Bless was the played-to-death version by Lee Greenwood. Now that would be offensive.
at 12:56 PM
Last Sunday in Fort Worth, a 44-year-old woman put her vehicle in drive instead of reverse and ran over and tragically killed a 3-year-old boy. She had alcohol on her breath and was arrested for Intoxication Manslaughter. So the cops take a sample of her blood, check it for alcohol, and (surprise) it was .06 - below the legal limit of .08. So the charges were dropped, right? Noppers. The police will refer the case to the DA's office for prosecution because, according to Sgt. Don Hanlon, she didn't do well on the Field Sobriety Tests. Hey: Anybody out there think they could keep their foot in the air for 30 seconds or take 18 steps heel-to-toe without error after you just ran over a three year old? It's all part of a growing trend of "If there's a tragedy, there must be a crime." That's not necessarily so. The Star-Telegram story is here.
at 9:54 PM
"JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — Three strippers and two nightclub managers have been arrested for allegedly spanking a trucker at his 31st birthday bash and severely bruising his backside. After his friends paid $25, Keith Lowery was handcuffed and spanked with a 3-foot-long paddle and a belt while one of the strippers restrained his head with her legs, investigators with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said. Kelly Eslick, 21, a stripper at Sensations nightclub in Jacksonville admitted to police that she used a paddle drilled with holes for less air resistance while the two other dancers, Lisa Nolen, 23, and Charlene Smith, 23, used the belt." And is it a coincidence that the "victim" has the same last name as the Wise County Attorney? Yeah, it is.
at 12:11 PM
"FORT WORTH - A former employee of a plant that makes more than half of America's paper currency [you know the one: on 287 on the way to Fort Worth] pleaded guilty Wednesday to taking stolen cash outside Texas. Donald Edward Stokes Jr., 39, of Keller also had been charged with stealing $30,000 from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing Western Currency Facility in Fort Worth . . . . .Authorities say Stokes stole more than $600,000 over seven years by regularly stuffing his pockets with folded sheets of $20 or $50 bills. The bills were flawed and had been marked for destruction, but the money still had value and was usable.When Stokes was arrested in Oklahoma City after a routine traffic stop, officers found about $80,000 in the car, including about $30,000 from the plant, authorities said. They believe the rest was from gambling winnings in Las Vegas."
If he stole the $600,000 in only demoninations of $50 bills, he would have stolen 12,000 bills.
at 11:49 AM
Today, one week after the London bombings, this news article appears: "BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide car bomber sped up to American soldiers distributing candy to children and detonated his explosives Wednesday, killing up to 27 other people, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. One U.S. soldier and about a dozen children were among the dead. At least 21 others, including three U.S. soldiers, were wounded in the attack, the second major suicide bombing in Baghdad this week. A suicide attacker killed 25 people Sunday at an Iraqi army recruiting center." So we have 27 people dead yesterday and 25 dead on Sunday. Just another lovely day in Iraq that no longer gets our attention.
at 9:10 AM
A ton of newspaper and web sites had the story yesterday of a Waco jury sentencing a man to "99 years for stealing a cell phone." Well, not quite. He did in fact steal a cell phone but he managed to strike his victim with his fist a couple of times during the course of the theft. That boosts the case from a misdemeanor theft to felony robbery. And the other important fact was that the defendant had been sent to prison in the past for felonies on two prior occasions. That makes him (1) ineligible for probation and (2) subject to a range of punishment of no less than 25 years and no more than life in prison. Throw in one more fact: His testimony "was punctuated . . . with frequent profanity-laced tirades and told jurors he didn't care if they gave him life in prison." The 99 year sentence makes a little more sense now.
at 10:52 AM
A reveller is tossed by a calf after the fourth bull run in a bullring in Pamplona, Spain, July 10, 2005. REUTERS/Pablo Sanchez Before I die, I'm going to go see this spectacle in Spain. Then again, it might be the last thing I do immediately before my death. (Although I hope to avoid the fate of the guy in the picture). And if they added the event to the Bridgeport Rodeo, I'd go see it for the first time in 35 years.
at 9:19 AM
Did any of you catch Major League Baseball's Home Run Contest that was part of the All Star Game's pomp and circumstance? I happen to tune into it shortly after it began at 7:00 p.m. and then went away to do my always exciting Monday evening routine. When I went back to ESPN at 10:10 p.m. It was still going on! Over three hours of guys hitting home runs! And they say there isn't any good television anymore. And Chris Berman must go. Now.
at 9:09 AM
Today's Star-Telegram has a story of how a jury found 19-year-old Andrew Crump not guilty of capital murder. http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/local/12113209.htm "Not Guilty's" are fairly rare in murder cases and extremely rare in capital murder cases. Capital Murder means there was a murder with aggravating circumstances (in this case, more than one person were killed in the same criminal episode). It also mean that the person is eligible for the death penalty (although this young man was no so eligible thanks to the Supreme Cour's decision last year that a minor is immune from this ultimate punishment. He did, however, face an "automatic" 40 years in prison.) Anyway, the assistant DA in the case was not happy. His quote: "Clearly, I didn't do my job," he said. "[The victim's families] deserved everything that I had, and apparently there was something lacking in my effort. I'll engage in some introspection and try to determine where I failed." Trust me, that's a quote of a prosecutor who is devasted.
at 8:57 AM