U.S. Senators George Voinovich and Mike DeWine want to make it tougher for regular people to declare bankruptcy. But they seem to have a special place -- and a loophole -- in their hearts for terrorists and murderers.
A few years ago, the nutbags who bomb abortion clinics and shoot doctors discovered a cool legal trick. By declaring bankruptcy right before a judge found them guilty, they could hide their assets from the gub'ment. That proved especially handy when their victims' families sued for damages.
So when Republican leaders drafted a bill to make it easier for banks to collect their debts, Democrats figured that terrorists shouldn't get a pass. They wrote an amendment that would prevent doctor-killers from using bankruptcy to further screw their victims.
Unfortunately, the good senators from Ohio voted to crack down on bankruptcy for regular schmucks -- the vast majority of whom go broke via medical bills or job loss -- but gave a pass to terrorists.
"The Senate is telling America that these violent, convicted felons are free to subvert the legal system," says Mary O'Shea, lobbyist for Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland.
Not surprisingly, DeWine sees it differently. "This was the first major pro-life vote of the session, and as a pro-life senator, Senator DeWine voted against the amendment," says spokeswoman Amanda Flaig.
So how can you give special protection to murderers and call it pro-life? "I'm gonna stick to what I said before," she says.
A racist slice of whup-ass
The bars were closing and all Joseph Scarpino wanted was a warm slice of pizza. Unbeknownst to him, he was about to get a slice of whup-ass.
When 31-year-old Prestina Sims walked into DaVinci's Pizza in downtown Akron and cut to the front of the line, Scarpino muttered a nasty comment into his cell phone. Sims unleashed a tirade at Scarpino, then went outside and fetched her 6-foot-4, 320-pound boyfriend, Mark Jones, and directed him to "take care of this white motherfucker."
Jones proceeded to pummel Scarpino like a piñata, all of which was caught on videotape. Other courageous customers drew straws to see who would intervene. Unfortunately for Scarpino, no one pulled the shortest one. Sims was charged with felonious assault for orchestrating the attack. She would later claim in court that Scarpino called her a "black bitch," provoking the attack, but not a single witness confirms her claim.
Now she's claiming that prosecutors reneged on a plea agreement she made with them. Which, quite naturally, makes her a victim of -- gasp! -- racism.
Last Friday, Rev. Kenneth W. Paramore hosted a community meeting. He believes Sims is being unfairly targeted because she is a young black woman. Interestingly, he doesn't feel the white motherfucker was unfairly targeted because of his race.
"I think the natural human response is to not rush in with fisticuffs, but I feel that any male would have come in to a loved one's defense," says Paramore, "They are profiling this as a racial incident when, in fact, it's not."
Paramore is confident the title of the meeting, "Racial Injustice," helped to convince people of this.
The mean streets of Hudson
The 35th anniversary of the Kent State shootings is only two months away, but Hudson cops decided to celebrate early by pepper-spraying some protesting teenagers.
Officers from five surrounding communities and 36 cops from the Summit County Sheriff's Office dropped their parking tickets to answer the call after kids from Hudson High marched on school-board offices to protest the non-renewal of Principal Roger Howard's contract.
The sheriff's guys almost made it to the scene, but decided instead to wait on "standby" at a McDonald's across town, where they arrested five Big Macs for impersonating beef.
But Hudson Sergeant Kenneth Ciesla and Officer Matthew Price were in no mood to eat; they had waited their whole careers for something to actually happen in Hudson, and they weren't going to blow it. When a few kids threw snowballs and plastic bottles at the police, Ciesla and Price pepper-sprayed their happy faces as if trying to wipe out a really big hornets' nest.
Freshman Jordan Papp, who was sprayed in the eyes, face, and mouth, says the officers were way out of line. "The cop just walked up and just pulled out pepper spray and sprayed me and two kids next to me, and just started going back and forth over us," he says. "I never heard him say a single word."
"It felt like my eye was on fire, along with part of my face," says senior Jon Basil.
Hudson Lieutenant Robert Walker says the spray was "absolutely" necessary. But when asked if the officers were ever in danger, he wasn't so sure. "We took it to the next level of making sure that everybody was safe," he says.
"Our job is to remain impartial parties between both," he clarifies. Sort of.
Scabs on parade
Journalists are a dainty sort. Hence, the strike at The Vindicator, the daily newspaper in picturesque Youngstown, is now entering its fifth month without a single decent riot.
But presumably someone from the steelworkers' union decided to give those wimpy reporters a tip: If you're gonna starve your family on principle, at least have fun while you do!
The strikers recently posted the names, pictures, and phone numbers of scabs on their website, urging the town's union-friendly populace to harass those rat bastards. Fifteen of the paper's workers have crossed the picket lines since 179 walked out on November 16.
Problem is, the company hosting the strikers' website is based in Arizona, where union sympathy runs as high as Carlos Boozer sympathy does in Cleveland. So when Vindicator management alerted the web host, Go Daddy, to the photos, Go Daddy shut the strike site down.
The union agreed to take off the photos and phone numbers. But its lawyers are pressing Go Daddy to allow the photos back on. If that doesn't work, they'll find a more union-friendly company to host their site. They may also look at buying billboard space.
The steelworkers will be proud.