Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Russo Mystery Deepens

So what do NEO politics junkies do when their main man is out of commission? Apparently they check every other blog repeatedly for news of him or the other hot topics of the day. As of midnight 231 users stopped by for news on things Russo or things Brown (OK, 230, plus some guy looking for "akron vietnamese pho." Sorry dude, Jade Palace closed last summer.)

To me the most compelling new evidence is Tim's lack of appearance in response to my post. In the past Tim has always taken bait that tempting. To his credit, he has thick skin for blog abuse. When HypoSpeak abused him a few months back, he logged in just to laugh it off. I've never seen anyone who could dish it out and take it as well as Tim.

That he's not responding, either here or on George's excerpt post, proves conclusively to me that something is preventing him from doing so. And it's gotta be killing him. Tim lives for this stuff -- not just politics, but the jousting in comments. My original post poked some fun at the situation, but it has officially gotten unfunny to me. Whatever is going on, I'm hating it.

The most common speculation is that it all has something to do with a lawsuit. That could go down two ways -- either a lawsuit was filed and a temporary injunction granted, or a lawsuit is threatened and Tim and Gerardo fold up the tents while they consult with lawyers. Option number one seems unlikely at this time. Nothing about a lawsuit has made the papers. News organizations have stringers that check court dockets every day just to see if anything interesting gets filed. Sherrod Brown v. Tim Russo et al. would definitely get noticed.

FWIW, I've done what digging I can. The Cuyhoga County Common Pleas Court search engine shows no 2006 cases filed against defendant Tim Russo, or indeed against any Russo.

The Lorain County search engine is awful. Nearly impossible to log onto, then it freezes every time I try to search for Russo, Tim. It's not bad like dial-up internet bad, it's bad like the server is powered by a hamster on a wheel bad. If I finally get a hit, or indeed a successfully completed search, I'll let you know.

Now a case could have been filed anywhere Tim's post could have been seen, which ultimately means anywhere, so there are ways to escape press notice. Filing in a sleepy county downstate wouldn't immediately tip off the media. It seems unlikely, however, that a judge would issue an injunction from a county where the venue is at all dicey.

That leaves the possibility of a threatened lawsuit. We have no way of knowing about that until someone talks.

In case that particular load is en route to a fan somewhere, let me say this. I'm not at all averse to the idea of lawsuits in the political arena where someone slings real slander or libel. I would love, for example, to see Kerry sue the Swift Boat Veterans individually -- from what I've read, a slander claim could make it to the jury. Politics is politics, but outright lies are actionable wherever they occur. The downside to suing is that you look like a crybaby, even if you win.

That's a discussion for another day. In this context, I dearly hope a lawsuit is not involved. I'd hate to see that happen within the family. Ultimately, whatever problems Sherrod had with Tim and the other bloggers could have worked themselves out. Fratricide is not what I want to see as a test case.


Eric said...

Well, lawsuits and the shutting down of sites WERE threatened anonymously...and I think we all figured out where they originated from. I also think this latest bit of evidence might just confirm all that. Time will tell.

scott bakalar said...

In regards to the Lorain County Search Engine: you are right on the money about the hamster.

He/she (I can never sex rodents correctly) usually performs at dial-up speed, but since it is now winter, the Lorain County hamster is depressed, and unable to function at full speed.

k-pho said...

That's weird, the Lorain Co. site was fast for me. There were lots of Russo entries, but no tim*