Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Colorado Cookie Caper
Life in the red states is life as life is supposed to be. The red states have good family values. Red-state children are taught to love their parents and to fear Jesus, so that they will be insulated from the temptations of Satan so beloved in other places, like the blue states. A good red-state child, when invited to a party where there might be cursing and drinking, would know to stay home and engage in a more wholesome activity, like baking cookies for the neighbors.

That's precisely what Taylor Ostergaard, then 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitte, 18, of Durango, Colorado, did one night last July. They baked cookies for several neighbors instead of going to a party, and delivered them late that night, on little plates decorated with ribbons. Too late for Wanda Young, however--who was so freaked out by the anonymous cookie delivery that she ended up in the emergency room with an anxiety attack. Then she sued the girls in small claims court for her expenses.

And won. The court ordered the girls to pay about $900.

And in Colorado yet, home of radical cleric James Dobson and Focus on the Family. I believe that's called "irony." As for the lesson it sends to Taylor, Lindsey Jo, and others like them, I believe that's called "No good deed goes unpunished."

Back on the Road Again: This weekend's posts represent a hiatus from the hiatus I announced last weekend. The big hiatus is about to resume for yet another week. Posts will be light, and most likely nonexistent, until Friday or so. In my absence this week, check out "The Counterpoint," the splendid blog of a former colleague of mine, Ted Remington, who teaches in the communications studies department at the University of Iowa. Ted "critiques and corrects the daily editorial by Sinclair Broadcasting's corporate vice president, Mark Hyman, that is broadcast on all Sinclair-owned television stations across the country." Over beers the other night, Ted told me the website has two purposes--to give him a chance to vent on right-wing nonsense, but also to analyze, from his expert point of view, the propaganda and spin techniques Hyman uses night after night. Ted says he's already gotten some love from Air America Radio--and some contact from Sinclair's lawyers. So you know it's gotta be good stuff.

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