Justice feels bad for non-burglar Griz

The Griz, um, lineup

The Griz, uh, lineup

For a thrilling 48 hours last week, it looked like the county attorney might make Missoula weird again. That was the period after Kirsten Pabst intervened in the case of three Grizzly football players and two other UM students arrested for felony, but before we knew what they did. The hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday, then Wednesday. Meanwhile, local news ran player stats instead of information about the crime. Only the Kaiman—the University of Montana’s student newspaper, recently cut back to a weekly—knew the circumstances of their arrest.

It turned out those three big, dumb kids and one regular dumb kid thought the house was unoccupied, and confined their burglary to the part that was under construction. They climbed a ladder to get in, whereupon the homeowner dialed 911. Literally one minute later, their ride arrived, and they left the house with a case of beer. Then came the cops.

Was that felony burglary? I hope not. They seemed to think they were stealing beer from a construction site, which is bad but maybe not felony bad. People who steal beer from construction sites should probably be allowed to vote. The should be allowed to finish college and pass criminal background checks when they apply for jobs. Kirsten Pabst made a just decision when she reduced those kids’ charges to misdemeanor trespassing.

So why didn’t it feel good?

I can think of some reasons why not, and you can read all about them in this week’s column for the Missoula Independent. We had a perfect snafu in our little mountain town the weekend before last, and it reminded us how crooked this place feels, even when it isn’t.

Nut shot to propel Mike McFadden into Senate

That’s an ad for Minnesota’s Mike McFadden: dad, coach, businessman, nut shot victim, candidate for US Senate. Before we lament the dignity of his office, let’s remember that McFadden is running against incumbent Al Franken (D–MN). Neither man is exactly James Blaine of Maine. Still, there is something weird about this campaign advertisement. Is it that Coach McFadden seems to have taught his players to lunge forward and punch him in the nuts whenever a literal interpretation of his words authorizes them to do so? Is that even his real peewee football team? Certainly, every child who plays peewee football dreams of helping his coach become a senator, but very few actually do. Is it weird for McFadden to get these kids’ hopes up by putting them in his campaign commercial? No, it’s weird that he gets punched in the nuts at the end.

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Friday links! Systems of belief edition

Juggalos appropriate iconography of clown culture

Juggalos appropriate iconography from clown, gang, drunk culture

One of the best aspects of modern culture is that we are exposed to so many other people’s weird beliefs. Plenty of people in our daily lives hold different opinions and even core values from ours, but rarely are these ideas arranged into whole systems. To encounter an entirely alien worldview, you used to have to travel. But now you only need the internet, which will happily ship stories and images of Earth’s totalizing theories directly to your house. Today is Friday, and the world is a patchwork of non-overlapping magisteria. Won’t you deride the unfamiliar with me?

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President: dick?

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he would address a joint session of Congress regarding jobs and the economy on September 7—the same night, it turns out, as a Republican presidential debate. Exactly how it turned out is a matter of conjecture. Press secretary Jay Carney insisted that the date was not chosen to conflict with the debate, noting that there were going to be 20 of those things and that “one debate of many was no reason not to have a speech when we wanted to have it.” Still, I bet they have a big calendar in the White House, and Obama’s move seemed like a deliberate provocation. Fortunately for everyone, he was provoking John Boehner, which is like trying to get a fish to gasp. “As the majority leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, Sept. 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening,” Boehner wrote, asking the President to move the speech to September 8. Guess which date they compromised on!

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