Thursday, September 13, 2007

Is Anyone Else In Here Hungry?

At each morning's session of the News-Press/NLRB hearings we are guaranteed that there will be at least two high points. The first usually becomes between 10 and 10:15 am when the judge says, "We'll take our morning recess." The second usually comes at noon when the judge says, "Let's break for lunch."

With that background you can imagine my consternation this morning when towards the end of the second-half of the morning session, which seemed to last longer than usual and which was probably attributable to long pauses in the testimony from the witness on the stand so he could look over documents, Barry Cappello said to the judge, "It's noon your honor shall we take our lunch break?" and the judge responded, "No, let's finish this witness and take a late lunch." "Finishing this witness" just might mean finishing this blogger.

I guess that's the disadvantage of having a judge who looks like a marathon runner. He is accustomed to suffering and pain. It's probably not going to bother the witness on the stand, Scott Steepleton, who was recalled for some additional testimony, and quite frankly, doesn't look like he's missed too many meals and that getting a late one or missing one altogether doesn't figure to make too much of a difference to him. Besides they're both getting paid. I'm on a blogger's salary (in other words I'm making nothing) and as far as I'm concerned being required to blog on an empty stomach is an unfair labor practice.

For the record, we finally broke for lunch around 12:15 pm.

One of the things Steepleton was asked about was the performance evaluation of former reporter Leanna Orsua. It contained the comment that, "She has had at least one big error already, attributing one person's quote to another person." Steepleton, who wrote the evaluation, was asked what specific incident the comment referred to. His answer was that he couldn't recall. He was then asked if it was in reference to Orsua's article on former President's Bill Clinton's appearance at the Arlington last fall, wherein she inserted a quote from Clinton that turned out to be from an AP story reporting on an appearance he had made earlier that same day in Los Angeles. Steepleton said that he simply couldn't remember it. Maybe he ran out to get a sandwich back when it happened.

I was beginning to get a little worried that Union attorney Ira Gottlieb had been reading the same text on cross-examination methods that News-Press attorney Matthew Clarke has been using. And no, that's not the F. Lee Bailey book. It seemed like it took him forever to formulate his questions to Steepleton about whether there was a policy or anything in the company's employment manual that said an employee could be fired for committing an illegal act.

Steepleton had trouble coming up with anything specific in the manual or any specific examples of employees having been fired for any crimes. Finally Gottlieb asked the $64 question. "Has anyone ever been fired for drunk driving?" The answer was no, and yes, Travis Armstrong was sitting in the courtroom at the time.

Time to go. Hopefully I can get back to the hearing just in time for the first afternoon break.

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