Sun-trashing site is off-line

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January 28, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Thesunlies.com - a site devoted to trashing Baltimore's largest daily - seems to have called it quits.

The site had been around at least since last spring, and in its heyday, it ripped three or more Sun articles a day - mostly over perceived anti-Bob Ehrlich, pro-Martin O'Malley bias.

But the zip seemed to go out of the whole thing after the election, and sometime last week, it expired.

That fueled conspiracy theories that the site was the work of a conservative operation that recently folded up its tent. Say, the Ehrlich campaign. Or the Ehrlich administration.

"It wasn't me," said former campaign manager Bo Harmon. "And I can tell you that it wasn't anyone in the campaign or in the governor's office."

Ditto for the state GOP. Said party spokeswoman Audra Miller: "It wasn't us."

MD4Bush could not be reached for comment.

An opinion looking for an outlet

The Internet trail ran cold at a Scottsdale, Ariz., anonymizer, so it never was clear who was behind thesunlies.com - even to somebody who was, in a sense, thesunlies.com.

Cliff Williams, a stay-at-home dad from Simsbury, Conn., of all places, was a regular reader and poster at the site when he was invited to write articles as an official contributor. The invitation came via e-mail from thesunlies@gmail.com.

The Baltimore native and O'Malley disliker said he never knew who that was. But he wrote articles anyway - his standard fare was tearing into David Nitkin's political Q&A - under the name Chesepioc.

"They never said who they were. I never pushed for a name," he said. "I always had my suspicions."

And he's not sharing those.

"I really don't know, and I didn't want to know."

Williams was a medical photographer for Johns Hopkins Hospital before accompanying his physician-wife - they met in the Hopkins morgue - to Connecticut.

His sunlies.com gig didn't come with money, a state car or a lifetime supply of "We Love Our Gov" stickers. Williams got nothing but sweet satisfaction, while it lasted.

"It was just another place where I could express my opinions," he said.

Those venues are in short supply now. Williams wrote under the name Chasseur on the Sun's message board before he was banned a few months ago for calling a reporter a "fluff boy." He said he just meant to tease the writer about an O'Malley feature he found too fluffy. Williams said he didn't realize he'd used a porn-industry term that cannot be explained in a family newspaper.

Williams has tried to be reinstated, but no luck. Now with the sunlies.com gone, the guy is in need of an outlet. He asked: "Can you put in a good word for me?"

Heap of hurt

Next time you're looking to weasel out of jury duty, try the old football-injury excuse. It worked for Juror No. 72 two days after the Ravens' loss to the Colts.

Todd Heap reported that Monday morning to Baltimore County Circuit Court as summoned. But the Ravens tight end asked for mercy, Jury Commissioner Nancy Tilton said.

"I was at the check-in counter, and he said, `I will stay if you tell me I have to stay. I'll do my jury duty,'" Tilton said. "`But I'm really pretty beat up. I've got a lot of,' he said, `deep-tissue injuries.'"

Tilton hears plenty of sob stories in her line of work, but she didn't think Heap was faking it.

"He was [hurting]," she said. "When people are really in pain, you can see it in their face."

She sent a note up to Administrative Judge John Turnbull II, who granted a postponement.

"There were a lot of disappointed girls on jury duty that day," Tilton said.

Don't think for a minute that the court was giving Heap star treatment. Turnbull grants postponements all the time for people who don't feel up to their civic duty on the day they're called. Usually the trouble is something like pregnancy or the flu, he said, not a season-ending evening of blocking and tackling.

And the typical jury-duty dodger is not a spoiled pro athlete. Said Turnbull: "Doctors are the worst, frankly, for wanting to be excused."

Purple power, revisited

You know Maryland is getting back on track if the Purple Line - an important transit project linking Montgomery and Prince George's counties - is turning Purple again.

"You can call it The Project Formerly Known as the Bi-County Transitway," Transportation Secretary John Porcari told The Sun's Michael Dresser.

Porcari was referring to the less colorful name given the project by the Ehrlich administration. Porcari, who knew the project as the Purple Line during his previous stint as transportation chief under Gov. Parris Glendening, said the line was given that designation because it was intended to link the Washington Metro's Red, Blue and Orange lines.

For four years, the Ehrlich administration tried with scant success to make its name change stick. Transit advocates and Democrats never stopped calling it Purple - a popular color in Baltimore these days.

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