Thursday, January 27, 2011

Broken, Blind Or Stupid?

For those people who haven't worked in a media newsroom, or as part of a publication team at any point in their lives - which is most people - there are inside tricks and games that go on behind the scenes at media outlets when things are slow.

While the effects of media consolidation have rendered some of those old games unplayable any more, some games are still around, for those rare times when a group of professionals are all in one place with no work to do.

Like when they're snowed in.

One of those old games used to be known as "Broken, Blind, or Stupid." One person would tell a TRUE story, preferably one that involved the protagonist doing something unusual. The teller of the tale was allowed to be vague about some things, but had to tell the whole truth. At the end of the story, the others around the storyteller would guess the key problem of the protagonist. Usually, the storyteller let everyone know who the character was after they guessed.

If the character had physical or mental ailments that caused or contributed to his/her problem, they were considered "broken." If they had physical or mental disabilities that kept them from being successful, they were considered "blind." Of course, the the third option was for when the protagonist was just an idiot.

The goal was often to tell stories of famous or semi-famous people that others in your business hadn't heard, and, of course, to then learn more about people you thought you knew everything about (The internet has put somewhat of a crimp in that game, too).

We were reminded of that old pastime yesterday, when members of our staff in the DC area were socked in with snow all night and again this morning, as we looked over recent stories in the news that we may have missed sharing with our readers.

Today, we thought we'd play the game with you.

In Nebraska recently, there's been a state senator who has been attempting to introduce and pass an anti-immigration bill that closely mirrors the hotly disputed law in Arizona. That Arizona legislation - even now - remains somewhat in limbo, regarding the ability of police and sheriff's personnel to enforce it  because of how badly it was written.

Now this same Nebraska state senator has generally been a legislative cowboy of sorts, cocky, young, and mouthy - as reflected in his legislative ideas - without much regard for those he angers. He claims his bill isn't about protectionism or racism, but is only about keeping the best interest of Nebraskans in mind. Of course immigrants' rights groups are angry with him. Even people in his own political party, as well as legal immigrants, have had a few choice things to say about this guy's actions - and most of those things are not good.

Last week, a fellow state senator from Omaha presented this presumptuous parliamentary pistol-whipper with an idea that - while she does not agree with him - would help him achieve what he claims to be his goal for the state.

This legislator knows - or should know - he isn't likely to get his bill passed into law. Even if it passes, it will certainly be caught in legal limbo for years. In general, he seems to be ignoring the efforts of everyone around to assist him to succeed in his quest  - for either political self-destruction or successful political prominence.

His actions now beg the question: Is he broken, blind, or stupid?

As things sit right now, we're leaning towards the latter - but we'll let each of you decide for yourselves.

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