Wednesday, December 14, 2011

952 Move Along, Folks, There's Nothing to See

952 Move Along, Folks, There’s Nothing to See

(BELLEFONTE,  Pa.) --  Baby, it’s cold outside, maybe 20 degrees.  And it’s dark. The Dairy Queen is open early and doing a brisk business, trying to keep up with the demand for coffee.  Diagonally across the street is the Centre County, Pennsylvania courthouse, lit up by a forest of TV lights.  Streets leading to it are closed.  You can’t get there from here.  Not by car, anyway.

If you landed here from Mars this morning, you’d think the only motor vehicles they use on earth are big trucks with satellite dishes sticking up from them because that’s all you can see.  That and patrol cars with their rooftop bubble gum flashing red, white and blue.

This crowd was here to report on or to watch the accused rapist of little boys, Jerry Sandusky, the former assistant football coach at nearby Penn State and founder of a little kid charity, the Second Mile. But there is to be no appearance, other than a cameo.  This was to be a preliminary hearing.  Everyone who is anyone from the media is here.  Any big name TV company, newspaper, magazine.  Even some lowly bloggers.

But Sandusky declined his right to today’s hearing.  His lawyer says that decision was made only last night.

Move along, folks.  There’s nothing to see.

Sandusky’s accusers thus won’t be questioned.  Not until the trial, if there is one.  A leading indicator that there won’t be:  both defense and prosecution are swearing by all that’s holy that there has been “no talk of a plea deal.”  Which usually means they’re talking plea deal.

The non-hearing has an advantage for the prosecution.  It doesn’t have to present one of its star witnesses, whose testimony has sustained considerable erosion due to its apparent changing every few days.  Everyone wins.  Well, almost everyone.  There are those former little boys, for example, the ones the prosecution calls victims and the defense calls accusers.

Then there are all those TV reporters and their crews.  Their companies spent tens of thousands of dollars sending them here, getting them hotel rooms, feeding them and fueling their trucks.

What’ll they all do?  Easy.  They’ll stand up in front of the courthouse where all those lights are... and they’ll guess.  They’ll analyze.  They’ll interview experts.  They’ll interview men and women on the street.  In other words, nothing.

Move along, folks.  There’s nothing to see.


--Everyone following this case is familiar with the slick, maybe too slick defense attorney Amendola, but today was a first meeting with the prosecutor, Costanzo.  If he actually tries the case, he’ll be a subtle asset for the defense.  Costanzo has that same stilted, artificial, mechanical courtesy of the cop who pulls you over for running a stop sign or speeding, and the same underlying, dead-eye threat that goes with it.

--You have to feel at least a little sorry for Joe Paterno, who fell at home and fractured his pelvis soon after a diagnosis of lung cancer. His doctor is quoted as saying he expects a full recovery from both.  Then with a finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney doc rose.

Holiday Shopping Tip:  

Back before Seinfeld made him famous, mail order merchant J. Peterman included shipping charges in the price of his goods so he could say “We don’t charge for shipping and handling, and we don’t even know what handling is.”  Since then, he’s learned.  So like almost everyone else, he now has a chart for how much shipping and handling comes to.  But he doesn’t tell us about his discovery:  the definition of handling.

Other merchants have caught on to the original Peterman “hide the shipping cost” template.  LL Bean isn’t charging -- at least so’s you’d notice.  Lands’ End has free shipping offers almost as often as it issues catalogues.  Even some of the major department stores include this in the price of the goods.   But careful on those:  often you have to spend a certain amount before shipping becomes “free.”

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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