Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's Bad Behavior Saturday™! -- scare tactics edition

A firm hired by the GOP to register voters is under investigation in three states for duping voters into registering as Republicans when they thought they were only signing a petition. In southern California the firm, Young Political Majors (YPM), set up a table outside a supermarket and told voters they were signing a petition to increase penalties for child molesters.

There are so many ways this is fucked up. Primarily the hoax, of course, but also the use of a cliched red flag -- child molestation -- as a ruse, as if "penalties for child molesters" was some sort of magic incantation similar to "three strikes and you're out" or "no child left behind."

In San Bernardino County, two men were sentenced to four years in prison for robbing a paraplegic man in his home. And in Florida, a prostitute was arrested after she robbed a man who died while she was having sex with him in his car.

Actress Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia in "The Brady Bunch," was a drug-addicted mess who traded sex for drugs as a teenager and "led an off-screen life of nonstop debauchery." That makes it sound much more fun to read about than it probably is, in her just-released tell-all.

Las Vegas police, the DEA and the FBI are investigating reports that a six-year-old boy was kidnapped by a Mexican meth gang in retaliation after the child's grandfather failed to pay them for millions of dollars worth of drugs. The grandfather -- a 51-year-old handyman with three mortgages on his home who also seems to have ties to the recording industry -- has not been seen for months. Update: Oops: Grampa has been arrested in California, the Amber Alert for the lad has been canceled, though further update: police were still looking for the kid as of 3 pm.

A program in Australia to snitch on neighbors you suspect of welfare fraud garnered more than 100,000 tips in a year. That news story introduced me for the first time to the expression "to dob in" which seems to mean to inform on someone.

Today's fake: Stephen Hoch, whose inflated resume got him a $300K job as Washington State University Provost. Amazingly, Hoch is not only complaining that the Provost job did not give him enough power, but is being permitted to return to his previous post with the U. as a professor, at $245K.

Finally, two examples of people whose collapse has been more spectacular than the slight fame they achieved. A former Milwaukee alderman, already convicted of bribery and other charges, may have falsified records in order to get a new driver's license after being convicted of DUI. And an actor who appeared in a small part on several episodes of "The Sopranos," Lillo Brancato, will be tried for murder later this month in a case where a cop was killed during a 2005 burglary. Brancato attempted suicide in Rikers in 2006 when the gravity of his situation hit him; he's been there ever since. By the way, Brancato appeared with fellow Sopranos actor Drea DiMatteo in a 2001 film by director Abel Ferrera, 'R Xmas, which "follows them through a nightmarish Christmas Eve in which the husband is kidnapped and beaten up by a corrupt policeman (Ice-T) and two accomplices, and the wife dashes around accumulating the king's ransom necessary to set him free."

technorati: ,

No comments: