Thursday, August 31, 2006

Saudi man gets 28-to-life in Colorado slavery case

The guy was a doctoral candidate in linguistics at CU, which I hadn't seen mentioned in earlier coverage. The Post:
A Saudi Arabian man convicted of sexual assault and keeping a woman enslaved in his Aurora home was sentenced today to 28 years to life in prison.

Homaidan Al-Turki, 37, a linguistics doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, was sentenced to 20 years to life on 12 of counts of unlawful sexual contact and 8 years for theft.

LGF noted the sentencing of Al-Turki's wife earlier this month.

Update: And LGF noticed the followup story I missed in the Rocky today in which Al-Turki is quoted as saying to the judge,

“Your honor, I am not here to apologize, for I cannot apologize for things I did not do and for crimes I did not commit,” he told Judge Mark Hannen. “The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution,” he said.

The Rocky also notes that "the Saudi government gave Al-Turki the money he needed to post a $400,000 bond on the charges in Arapahoe County."

Un-PC verbiage deplored

The Drunkablog has been "officially" informed by the Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau (and souvenir stand) that the approved phrase to describe Denver is not smelly little cowtown, but dusty old cowtown. Per city ordinance 12-77 (1877), the Drunkablog hereby withdraws the false and libelous phrase.

The DMCVB further directs the Drunkablog to note that now through October 18 you and the kids can see a cow parade right here in this dusty old cowtown! Now, let's meet the cows!

Update: I forgot, I already met some of the cows:

When I "covered" (as journalists say) the pro-Hezbollah march down the 16th Street Mall earlier this month. This cow is called "Breaking Moos." It's sponsored by the Rocky.

Update II: Okay, just for balance (and because it's cute), here's the Post's cow. It's called "Front Range":

See? Cute.

Update III: "How will Denver awaken you?" has got to be the lamest motto in the history of mottoes. And last I heard, the DMCVB awakens visitors by piping methane gas (i.e., cow farts)through the ventilation systems of all the downtown hotels. They probably don't want too many questions about that, so why even mention it?

Update IV: Foreign readers should know that the eastern slope of the Rockies running through Colorado is called the Front Range. The western slope is called, bizarrely, "the Western Slope."

A mile wide and an inch deep: it's the Colorado news roundup!

So what's been going on 'round and about this smelly little cowtown while the D-blog was distracted by the soulful eyes of John Mark Karr? Guess we should start with a smelly little cowtown story:

  • "Family in a winner's circle formed by rainbows, love." Wouldn't know it from the pathetic headline, but the story does have cows in it, as demonstrated by the first, inauspicious sentence: "The sight of a 1,200-pound steer made Jim Vickland a little queasy."

  • You think the hippies were pissed? "Rally in the Rockies biker event banned":

    Montezuma County Sheriff Gerald Warren is bringing in additional law enforcement officers, canceling days off for his own troops and bracing for trouble in the wake of a judge's order shutting down the annual Rally in the Rockies motorcycle event northeast of Mancos.

    An estimated 8,000 bikers could arrive in the area for the Labor Day Weekend rally in spite of the district court order late Monday canceling activities because the rally organizers were denied a high-impact use permit by county commissioners.

  • On the other hand: "Colorado to tackle global warming":

  • "All too often, people turn away from the seeming complexity and distance of global warming -- climate changes, melting of the icecaps, rising oceans," [former Colorado State University president Al] Yates said. "Such things just seem too big, too daunting to contemplate or comprehend. And so we ignore them, deny their existence. And, as my colleagues have argued, we do so at our peril. But . . . we can solve this problem. And we must."

    Oh, we must, must we?

  • Two stories showcase competent Colorado law enforcement: "Denver police solve two 'cold' homicide cases"; and, much more important: "Bear, DNA, phone tips lead to moose poacher."

  • Not Colorado, but close enough: "Indians celebrate famous expedition":

    NEW TOWN, N.D. - Canvas teepees mixed with modern tents, and horses trotted among fancy campers on a Missouri River peninsula to mark the journey home of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and their Indian interpreter.

    "This is the homeland of Sakakawea," Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall told the crowd Thursday during the opening ceremonies.

    But there's controversy. Once again, disagreements over indigenous oral history are causing problems:

    The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes dispute the commonly accepted historical account that Sakakawea was a Shoshone woman who was captured by the Hidatsa as a youth, claiming her instead as one of their own. They hope to use this week's event to spread that word to the rest of the country, where she is usually known as Sacagawea.

    Where's Ward Churchill when you need him?

  • Finally, two strangely related mountaineering stories: "Domestic sheep climbs Colorado 14er"; and "Texas professor dies after falling 300 feet."

    Update: I probably should have read more than the first couple of paragraphs of Joel Achenbach's WaPo piece on CSU climate skeptic Bill Gray. Achenbach is remarkably condescending, not only to Gray but to all the skeptics he mentions, including the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at, uuuuhh, lemme see here--oh yeah, that's the place--MIT, Richard Lindzen. Achenbach even manages to find someone willing to call Lindzen a "fringe" figure.

    Update II: Although it is a little weird that Lindzen categorizes his writings as "Publications" and "Other Publications."

  • Update III: The link that was supposed to go to the banning of the biker rally actually went to a story on Colorado's ranking among the 50 states for obesity. Easy mistake to make. Fixed now.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Boulder DA: I officiated at wedding of John Mark Karr and Rita Cosby

    See, if you watched MSNBC (which nobody does) you'd get the "joke." Rita and John Mark exchanged a long, smoldering look while Karr was being moved somewhere today, and MSNBC keeps showing a still of the alleged staredown, which Rita claims lasted 30 to 45 seconds.

    Everybody's probably seen all the rest of the recentest Karr-mongering, but I'll link to it anyway:

    A story on Mary Lacy's news conference.

    The e-mails between Karr and CU Professor Michael Tracey (pdf); and Karr's Boulder County arrest warrant (also pdf). Both are apparently quite graphic.

    The phone calls that "led to Karr's arrest" (audio).

    The "so long, fellas" story: "Karr briefly faced no charges."

    And finally, columnist Mike Littwin's postmortem, which contributes nothing except the most horrible headline in the history of humanity: "Littwin: Send in the frowns in Boulder's blunder."

    Not all the wackjobs are in Boulder

    The majority, perhaps, but not all. The Sydney Morning Herald: "CIA used 'micro nuclear' bomb in Bali: Bashir":
    Indonesian Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir claims America's top spy agency was involved in the devastating 2002 Bali bombings.

    Bashir, who was convicted and imprisoned for having prior knowledge of the attacks which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, is also appealing for the lives of three convicted bombers to be spared . . . .

    "The micro-nuclear bomb that did so much damage was a CIA bomb, not Amrozi's bomb," Bashir told the ABC.

    "The Bali bombing was actually masterminded by America. Well, not masterminded, but hijacked. They planned it, but their plan was hijacked by America."

    "So the bomb that killed so many Australians, it was an American bomb. It wasn't the bomb made by Amrozi and his friends."
    (via Kyda Sylvester in a comment to a likewise interesting post by Tim Blair on Australian Muslim spokesman Keysar Trad.)

    Update (9:43 p.m. MDT): Hard to believe LGF doesn't have this, but they don't. Heh™.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    John Mark Karr is so over

    It's been fun, but I was getting a little obsessed with the JonBenet case. For one thing, I'd started doing everything--eating, drinking, sleeping, peeing (into a can, mostly)--right in front of the computer, just to be sure I didn't miss anything. The Drunkawife said I was starting to look like Howard Hughes (oops, she meant this version). Hey, where is the D-a-W anyway? Seems like she hasn't been around for days . . .

    Update: Of course, I've added about ten updates to the post below, so I should have said that John Mark Karr will soon be so over.

    KUSA: Karr's DNA doesn't match DNA at JonBenet crime scene

    (via MSNBC). In full:
    9NEWS has confirmed from two sources that the DNA sample taken from John Mark Karr is not a match with the foreign DNA found on JonBenet Ramsey's body when she was murdered in 1996. Stay tuned for more details from 9NEWS, and 9NEWS Now.
    Update (1:41 MDT): Rocky ain't got it; (1:43 MDT) Post does.

    Update II (1:53 MDT): Hey Rocky! Wake up!

    Update III (1:57 MDT): Yay, Rocky!

    Update IV: Didn't hear who they cited, but MSNBC says Mary Lacy will not file charges against Karr. First mention of the word "recall"
    in 3-2-1 . . .

    Update V: It was KUSA.

    Update VI: Karr's public defender Seth Temin has steam coming out of his ears, one aimed at the Boulder DA's office and the other at the media, but all he'll say is that he's "disturbed" at how the DA handled the case.

    Update VII: Craig Silverman on MSNBC: there's going to be "a reckoning" with Mary Lacy soon. Not threatening, just stating. Not having all your ducks in a row in this situation is mind-boggling. . . . Now they have to backtrack and look kind of silly . . . .

    Pam Paugh, Patsy Ramsey's sister, asked by Rita Cosby what she would say to the Boulder DA's office: thanks anyway for getting this freak off the street. If we can help . . .

    Update VIII: KHOW's Dan Caplis says KCNC is claiming Karr has "been released." It's not on their website, and right now they've got Dr. Phil doing something Katrina-related . . . .

    Update IX: KCNC now has a headline that Karr has been "released from custody," but the story behind the click says nothing at all about it.

    Update X: Boulder County Sheriff: Karr is still in custody, you morons. We're holding him until California authorities can come pick him up.

    Update XI: Caplish (sorry, had a li'l drinkie) (not really!): Lacy should resign. Her credibility as a prosecutor is fatally compromised. Craigie: I defend cases in Boulder and I'm sure gonna mention her name
    a lot. . . Caplis: Lacy sucks. . . .

    Update XII (4:27 MDT): Craigie says "recall." That took longer than I thought it would.

    Update XIII: KUSA: Why Karr was detained in the first place.

    Update XIV: Colorado governor Bill Owens: "Mary Lacy should be held accountable for the most extravagant and expensive DNA test in Colorado history."

    Update XV: The Post: "JonBenet case collapses, finger-pointing begins." The News has some pointing, too: "Case setback ends detective's silence":

    Former Boulder Police Detective Steve Thomas broke a five-year silence on the JonBenet Ramsey case this afternoon to blast District Attorney Mary Lacy for arresting John Mark Karr, a man she has decided not to charge.

    "This was not a faux pas. This was not a misstep," said Thomas, 44, and now living in Florida.

    "This was just a blunder of beyond anything I could ever imagine in this case."

    "If anybody questioned why I resigned in protest from this criminal justice system in 1998, I think this latest series of events just adds an exclamation point to that."

    Thomas quit the Boulder department with a lengthy and passionate resignation letter dated Aug. 6, 1998 — it would have been JonBenet's eighth birthday — blasting the district attorney's office for its handling of the case and alleging the justice system in Boulder was the detectives' greatest obstacle in bringing JonBenet's killer or killers to justice.

    Update XVI: Jeralyn Merritt: I never thought I'd agree on anything with Governor Owens, but . . .

    Should have tried eBay

    Peter Boyles starts his show, as he often has recently, by talking over JonBenet developments (or lack thereof) with former Allegheny County (PA) coroner Cyril Wecht, whom I just got around to googling. Oddly, I have never heard Boyles mention that Wecht is under indictment for 83 counts of mail fraud and one of "body trading":
    U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan outlined the indictment at a news conference yesterday, including a charge that Dr. Wecht provided bodies that went unclaimed at the coroner's office for use as cadavers in the forensic sciences program at Carlow University. The government said the bodies were provided at no cost in exchange for lab space for his private practice.
    Here's his wiki entry.

    Boyles also got his wish for a new (but unfunny) parody song about the case from Don Wrege, Michael Row Your Load Ashore, about the CU prof who exchanged e-mails with John Mark Karr for years and who is a publicity hungry git. Might be on the KHOW website.

    Update: Rita Cosby interviewed Boulder journalist Michael Sandrock, who repeated his story of meeting John Mark Karr in Paris and getting the impression that Karr had been in Boulder. IN other words, absolutely nothing is going on.

    Sunday, August 27, 2006


    Kevin Federline will make acting his next career move, according to the infallible MSNBC crawl. Britney Spears' husband will play a "teen thug" who "harasses investigators" on an episode of CSI this fall. Don't mess with William Petersen, K-Fed! He'll yank that stupid hat of yours off and zip zip! his trusty scalpel will have your eyes rolling on the ground and Britney will be screaming!


    Sunday morning JonBenet

    Media critic (and Volokh Conspiracy contributor) Dave Kopel has a piece in the Rocky with the perverted-sounding headline, "Owens the master in JonBenet case," about Colorado Gov. Bill Owens' big mouth on big cases:
    Following the Aug. 17 premiere of the latest media crime-of- the-century story, JonBenet Ramsey - Part II, many commentators noted that Owens had sharply criticized John and Patsy Ramsey, and had stopped only an inch short of claiming that they were guilty. Perhaps more so than any previous Colorado governor, Owens had the opportunity to speak out on a significant number of nationally infamous crimes, including Columbine, JonBenet and the (alleged) University of Colorado football rapes. In the months following these crimes, Owens echoed the conventional wisdom of the media: more gun control is needed; the Ramseys are guilty; CU is guilty.

    Owens has successfully used intense media coverage of sensational crimes to popularize himself. When Owens announced in late 1999 that the Ramseys should "stop hiding behind their attorneys" and declared "If they're innocent, they're sure not acting like they are," his words gained much more media play than almost anything else he said in that period.
    Kopel somewhat awkwardly drags Reagan into it, but the piece is worth reading.

    Saturday, August 26, 2006

    Commie: Shame on you, U.S. media

    World Socialist-type David Walsh rounds up the early media frenzy over the JonBenet case and finds it quite unseemly:

    From the beginning, in its treatment of the JonBenet Ramsey murder the American media has pandered to and encouraged the very worst instincts in the population: prurience, a fascination with the lives of the wealthy, obsession with celebrity in general. The television networks, daily newspapers and weekly news magazines have wallowed in the gutter in this case and so many others—the Simpson trial, Michael Jackson’s legal problems, the Chandra Levy and Laci Peterson murders, etc.

    The Ramsey case shows the media at its ugliest, most shallow and most ignorant.

    Being a World Socialist, however, Walsh comes to some strange conclusions about why this is so:

    No doubt a political motive was involved here too. The terror bomb plot in Britain was threatening to unravel, or at least disappoint, the war in Lebanon had not achieved US aims [what were those, anyway?], the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are disastrous. The media instinctively strove to change the subject. What does it know best, what makes it most comfortable? The intersection of sex scandals or sex crimes with the lives of rich or famous people.

    I know I say this a lot, but: I don't get it. Is he saying that if the terror bomb plot hadn't "unraveled," nobody would have paid attention to the JonBenet case? Sure.

    And how does Dave navigate from the media's "instinctive" change of subject to this, the very next paragraph:

    Both the billionaires who own and operate America’s “free press” and its leading figures, for the most part, are human refuse. They write or say whatever suits their immediate purposes, which corresponds to the economic and political interests of the largest corporations, the richest individuals and the most predatory circles in Washington. They lie as ordinary people draw breath.

    The left can't see anything straight anymore.

    (h/t: Snapple)

    Update: World Socialist coverage of JonBenet continues here.

    Not much happening

    MSNBC has on yet another goofy handwriting expert, Ruth Brayer, to comment about the JonBenet ransom note. She sounds like a cross between Doctor Ruth and Barbara Walters. They're showing the ransom note and yearbook message side by side. Brayer says nothing specific. Drunkablog expert analysis: John Mark Karr has some psawchic ability.

    Of course, Brayer's website is focused far more on selling her services than on the "science" of handwriting analysis. The little Sherlock Holmes's wandering around with the pipes and the deerstalkers and the magnifying glasses--nice lady!--are a good touch, though.

    Update: Great tips to catch a forger!

    Update II: The Rocky and MSNBC: Man says he may have seen Karr in Boulder on X-mas Day, '96. Tenuous in the extreme.

    Friday, August 25, 2006


    The News this morning has a new and convenient "developments" page for the JonBenent case.

    The Post, meanwhile, has "Brother: Karr didn't kill JonBenet" (check out how it looks like they made Karr hold a flashlight under his chin for his mugshot); and "Boulder judge handling Karr familiar with Ramsey case."

    Update: Jim Paine of Pirate Ballerina cruelly sent along this link to a bunch of parody songs about the original JonBenet case by amateur (repeat: amateur) singer/songwriter/musician Don Wrege. Don't listen, I beg you.

    Update II: Don't do it!

    Update III: Paine also notes that Wrege is apparently looking for suggestions for new songs about John Mark Karr. Don't encourage him!

    Update IV: The Boulder Daily Camera:

    The Boulder County Public Defender’s Office and a private attorney, who is an expert on DNA and has roots in the public defender’s office, will represent JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr, the Daily Camera has learned.

    Seth Temin, who is now head of Boulder’s Public Defenders Office, along with Steve Jacobson will defend the 41-year-old school teacher implicated in Boulder’s most notorious unsolved murder, according to a source at the Boulder County Justice Center.

    Temin entered an appearance on behalf of Karr with the court this morning. "Mr. Karr is indigent and qualifies under Supreme Court guidelines," Temin wrote in the filing.

    That filing casts into doubt whether California lawyers Patience Van Zandt and Jamie Harmon had been retained by Karr as the pair claimed during a press conference Wednesday. Van Zandt had represented Karr in a prior child pornography case.

    "What happened to the Granola sisters?"--Dan Caplis

    Update V: Also from the Camera: "Defense attorney seeks to protect Karr handwriting." That might just call for another hmmmmm.

    Update VI: The News' Penny Parker: "Handwriting expert right on the money with talk-show hosts." Can she possibly be referring to . . .

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Thursday JB roundups

    Here's the Post's latest, and here's the News' Charlie Brennan and Bill Scanlon, who note that
    Karr’s flight was tracked by news organizations around the world, some of whom [sic] were caught off guard by a last-minute change of arrival location . . .
    It was like NORAD tracking Santa Claus at Christmas, except weird. KHOW actually posted the track of Karr's (Beech King!) plane on their website (though I don't remember which tracking service they used).

    Things are way out of hand.

    Oh yeah. Brennan and Scanlon: "[Karr] was immediately driven to the jail, where he was expected to have a standard-fare dinner: beef stew, noodles, celery sticks, squash from the jail garden and apple crisp."

    The Post missed that. I'm hongry.

    Do YOU have a personal copyeditor?

    Everybody needs one!

    (Spotted on the bike path at Sloan Lake.)

    Update: A "renowned" handwriting analyst has claimed the "C" inserted in the words "FUK YOU" was added by the same person who wrote the original message. Forensic document expert Curtis Baggett said, "Ah reckon they's a hunnert percent chance it was wrote bah the same gah." Other handwriting experts disagreed and made fun of Baggett's cornpone accent.

    "Did you hear that?" asked "immortally handome" document expert Smedley Bryce, "He said 'hunnert.' Where's this pinhead from, Mayberry? Hey, lemme analyze your handwriting. Twenty bucks, just for you. Ten? Want your palm read?"

    Welcome back (?) Johnnie!

    MSNBC is showing the plane that's going to take John Mark Karr to Colorado this afternoon. Allegedly! National media in Boulder are eating each other in excitement! Reportedly!

    The plane is a Beech King turbo prop which, according to the News, "is operated by the Colorado State Patrol Aircraft Section, can carry up to seven passengers and travels at 260 mph." The Post, however, says the plane seats 11 people. Aiiiieeeee! I can't take it!

    Update: "The plane! The plane!"--Dan Caplis

    Five days?

    Post: Case against Karr still being built:
    Investigators discovered John Mark Karr's identity only five days before he was arrested in his Bangkok apartment, according to a court document filed Wednesday by the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.

    In the days following the identification, authorities scrambled to arrest Karr quickly, fearing someone might tip him off first and allow him to escape, says the motion filed Wednesday in Boulder District Court.

    The document confirms that a week since Karr's arrest Aug. 16, Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy's investigation of Karr is far from being completed. It also says that the case against Karr is in its "very early stages" and was developed using evidence not previously disclosed about the 1996 slaying of JonBenét Ramsey.

    More, but not new: Ransom note's link to Karr may be shaky:

    Much has been made of expert opinions that say John Mark Karr's early longhand writing in a high school yearbook has similarities with the author of the ransom note found in JonBenét Ramsey's home.

    But the practice of handwriting analysis, often called forensic document examination, is by no means as persuasive to a jury as other forms of physical evidence.

    "This is an area of soft science in which you can find experts on both sides," said Craig Silverman [Craigie!], a Denver lawyer and former Denver prosecutor. "It's almost impossible to convict someone on handwriting alone."

    We knew that. The Rocky ripostes rather pathetically with the egregiously obvious "DNA could identify killer, analyst says":

    The DNA evidence in the JonBenet Ramsey case is solid, and there's a strong possibility it points to the killer, a self-proclaimed neutral observer and expert on DNA analysis said Wednesday.

    Rock Harmon, a senior deputy prosecutor in Alameda County, Calif., said there's been spin regarding the DNA from two sides - those arguing for the Ramseys' guilt, and those promoting an intruder - but that attention must be paid to the biological evidence in JonBenet's underwear.

    "It's there, it can't be avoided," Harmon said.

    "Strange male DNA shouldn't be anywhere around a dead young girl."

    Well, duh.

    Peter Boyles is insinuating and even a little more that the Boulder DA's office is in such disarray over the case they're down to hoping Karr is killed in jail. What do they call pedophiles in prison? Boyles asks some flunky. Small eyes? Short eyes?

    Update: Westword criticizes the Rocky's coverage of the case.

    Update II: MSNBC says one of the lawyers defending Karr (I didn't hear which one) was cited three times for giving bad advice to clients.

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    More lawyers

    Attorneys Jamie Harmon and Patience VanZandt (who represented John Mark Karr on the kiddie-porn possession rap) are holding a news conference, and MSNBC's "Countdown" broke into its Tom Cruise-a-rama to cover it!

    Karr probably won't be brought to Colorado until early next week . . . . Brother retained talent agent and is putting lots of stuff out in the media. We don't know how much of it is true. . . . Haven't spoken to him, don't intend to . . . . What about Karr's incriminating statements? He made those before I represented him . . .

    Back to Cruise-ing.

    Frontpage racist

    This is just wild. Pirate Ballerina, in perusing the writings of Dr. David Yeagley, "Comanche patriot" and frequent contributor to David Horowitz's Frontpage.mag, found some flatly racist articles and posts, most particularly a Frontpage article that begins with this epic sentence:
    WHITE WOMEN ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL, desirable creatures on earth, judging from the way dark men crave them.
    Read the whole thing. It's like Yeagley's channeling Mandingo or something.

    So Jim Paine of PB e-mailed Yeagley, asking what he had to say about these frothings. Yeagley was quick to reply. You gotta read that too, but Yeagley's PS deserves highlighting:
    PS: I used the term "darkies" in the global non-white sense when I was talking on Bill O'Reilly's TV show last year. It's just old fashioned. Kind of romantic. I haven't heard anyone object to it, but you. Wait. That's wrong. People have objected to what they perceive as some "dark" motive behind it. Racist? as you say. I don't think so.
    Anyone else get a vote?

    Update: PB points out that he didn't discover Yeagley's eructations, but noticed that the French blogger at Roncesvalles had.

    Curtis Baggett

    is on Caplis and Silverman. He's the "disqualified" handwriting expert.

    Baggs: More than a dozen similarities, but you're right, I'm staking my reputation on this. I've done over 2,600 cases and they always try to disqualify you.

    Silverman calls him the "renowned document examiner." . . .

    Baggs: "Handwriting is brain writing." Oh, he's pourin' on the southern syrup. In his application Karr's writing slants two ways. Uh-oh: "Which by the way means he's got two personalities or more . . ." Charlatan-o-meter pegging.

    Baggs: Handwriting analysis began in the sixteenth century, so it's older than psychology or [some other field] we probably agree on . . . (Well, if it's old . . .)

    Caplis is tearing him up, making his claims sound like complete bull.

    Update: Post: Family: Karr not "creature of the dark."

    Back to C & S. Baggs is a'chucklin' 'n' a'joshin' now. Why fellers, even ma good 'ol han-wratten has deteriorated! Laws!

    S: Aren't you in it for the glory?

    Baggs: I shore am. I wanna hep people [sic]--I once got a girl off death row . . .

    Now they're arguing about specific alleged handwriting similarities . . . Snore.

    S: Have you been looking at the internet? Have you seen that some examiners have excluded Karr?

    Baggs: Well, I'm takin' a chancet, boys, I won't deenah that.

    Dan: Analyze our handwriting.

    Baggs: Well, you, Dan--sickening vague drivel, including praise for Dan's "telephone po' taw" IQ. Barf. Dan laps it up, still doesn't believe him.

    Drunkablog verdict: Baggs may be right, but only by sheer luck.

    Oh please, Craigie is praising Baggs's analysis of Dan's handwriting.

    Dan: He's like a circus barker or something . . . Any pop psych after 20 minutes on the air could do that . . . Duh. Double-duh even.

    Craigie: I thought he nailed you on point after point . . .

    Oh yeah, Baggs said Caplis has "a li'l psawchic abillty" too.

    (Credit: picture is of course an example of spirit photography, from The Skeptic's Dictionary (first word: "abracadabra"). It's faker looking than anything Reuters has put out, isn't it? And that's really fake.)

    Update: "Curtis Baggett" is not even in the running for best name to turn up in the JonBenet case. That honor has to belong to Bryce Smedley.

    You ought to be in pictures

    AP says Karr's family is shopping the movie and book rights to Karr's story in order to pay for a big-time defense attorney:
    Karr's father and brother hired actor, author and producer Larry Garrison to represent them in any media deals and to help them find a top attorney to represent Karr, who is in a Los Angeles jail awaiting transfer to Colorado to face allegations he killed the girl in 1996.
    The Drunkablog suggests Denver attorney David Lane. He's already got the Ward Churchill and Rainbow Family accounts sewn up, might as well go for the lunatic trifecta.

    Other interesting bits of tid from the AP article:
    Georgia attorney Gary Harris, who had represented Wexford and Nate Karr in recent days, has said that the family found a photo from Christmas 1996 that indicates [there's that word again--ed.]Karr was in Atlanta, not Colorado, at the time of Ramsey's death.

    Harris no longer represents Wexford and Nate Karr, Garrison said, but a family photo has been turned over to Boulder authorities. He could not say what the photo shows . . . .
    Another attorney (I had a DT hallucination once where tiny bugs with giant false teeth swarmed all over my face--now why did I just think of that?) protested Karr's portrayal in the media

    "as being mentally unstable, attention-seeking, [and] unwell, mentally unwell. And he is none of those things," said attorney Jamie Harmon, who attended Tuesday's hearing and whose partner, Patience Van Zandt, represented Karr when he was charged in 2001 with possessing child pornography in Northern California.

    Karr "is anxious to have an opportunity to address the allegations against him, to be portrayed in a more accurate and complete way," Harmon said . . . .

    Can't wait. Karr's (first) ex-wife also pitches in, and her family make an potentially important claim:

    Today, Quientana Ray, who married Karr when she was 13, told ABC's "Good Morning America" in a pre-recorded interview that Karr was controlling and used to tell her about fantasies he had about little girls.

    "I was drugged and things were done to me without me having any idea," said Ray, who is now married with a 4-month old child.

    Her parents, Melissa and Larry Shotts of Hamilton, Ala., said they also discovered letters Karr wrote to their daughter that were signed "S.B.T.C." - the same initials found on a ransom note left in the Ramseys' home. They did not show the letters during the interview and it wasn't clear if they still had them.

    The reporter apparently didn't ask to see the letters. Typical of this case.

    Update: Damn, I just noticed how clever the title of this post is.

    Weirdness decried

    Post editorial: "Time for DA to show cards." They're not to the Peter Boylesian point of saying the case is screwed, but they do point out the obvious:
    The Karr episode has been off-key from the start. Though his custody has been a public spectacle, the reasons are shrouded in mystery. Just how much was done to check the validity of his confession? As The Denver Post's Kirk Mitchell reported Sunday, Lacy convinced a judge to sign an arrest warrant before she took some basic investigative steps.
    After listing some of those steps, the Post says that

    It is becoming quite clear that Lacy has a practical if not a legal obligation to justify the uproar she touched off when she enlisted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to bring Karr back from Thailand in such a public fashion . . . .

    Lacy owes it to JonBenét's family. She owes it to Karr. And she owes it to everyone who believes in a fair and open criminal justice system. We hope she has solved this very gruesome murder. If Karr is simply playing a role, it's time to get him out of the spotlight.

    But he likes it so much.

    Handwriting analyst's qualifications "clearly paltry"

    The Rocky:

    A handwriting analyst who said he is 99.9 percent certain that John Mark Karr wrote the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note was disqualified as an expert witness earlier this year by a federal judge who challenged his expertise.

    Georgia Federal District Court Judge Clay Land wrote that analyst Curtis Baggett was not certified by several industry groups, had not undergone proficiency tests and had not authored texts in the field of handwriting analysis.

    In comparison to another expert witness, Land said Baggett's qualifications "are clearly paltry."

    Baggett responded Tuesday that he has testified in more than 2,500 cases and was successfully disqualified in only about four. He said he has never been disqualified when he has appeared at trial.

    A document examiner studying at Handwriting University, a training company that Baggett and his son run, says sniping is not unusual in the field . . . .

    Kind of sounds like chiropractic to me.

    Update: This has been out there for a couple of days. The $118,000 figure found in the ransom note was on a pay stub on John Ramsey's desk:
    John Mark Karr reportedly wrote in a 2005 e-mail to University of Colorado professor Michael Tracey that a check stub on John Ramsey's desk included the figure of $118,000 - the amount included in the mysterious ransom note found at the Ramsey home.

    If true, the development - reported in recent days by CBS News - could be significant. The check stub and its location, Ramsey's desk, appear to be specific references not commonly discussed in news coverage of the JonBenet Ramsey murder.
    Update: Craig Silverman pointed out on MSNBC just now that handwriting analysis is not accepted in all courts and that it is in fact a "soft science."

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    JonBenet question

    How do you pronounce her name? I think it's supposed to be "Jon" as in "John," but more and more the talking ratfaces are pronouncing it almost like "Jean," Frog for "John." Annoying, but not nearly as much as when I hear "negotiation" pronounced "nego-cee-ation." That bugs me to the point of writing threatening letters (don't worry, I always sign other people's names).

    Bonus question: Why doesn't anybody in the U.S. pronounce "aunt" as "Ant" anymore, but rather, "Ahnt"? Is it reverse snobbery? Does "Ant" sound too WASPy?

    Academics: Manning the front lines of freedom!

    Not really, of course, but Pirate Ballerina, in his brave (i.e., hopeless) effort to counter Teachers for a Democratic Society's (blech) petition to "Unfire Ward Churchill," has been gathering signatures on his own petition to (natch) "Fire Ward Churchill" at an amazing rate. It's taken weeks for TDS to gather its paltry 464 signatures, but in less than one week, PB has gathered two (count 'em!), two (2) signatures.

    As Herman Wouk noted in a different context, the old sagas would halt to list the names of men so brave. This blog will follow that tradition. The academics are:

  • Professor Thomas D. Russell (Sturm College of Law, University of Denver)

  • Francis Rexford Cooley, Lecturer-in-General Studies (History), Paier College of Art.

    Gentlemen! You are, uh, gentlemen, and scholars.
  • Non-Jon

    I'm sick of sickos. Let's have a song!

    United forever in friendship and labor,
    Our mighty republics will ever endure!

    The great Soviet Union will
    live through the ages,
    The dream of the people, their
    fortress secure!

    Long live our Soviet
    Built by the people's
    mighty hand.
    Long live her people united and free!

    Strong in our friendship tried by fire,
    Long may our crimson
    flag inspire,
    Shining in glory for all men to see!


    Through days
    dark and stormy while great Lenin led us
    Our eyes saw the
    bright sun of freedom above!

    Stalin our leader, with faith in the people,
    inspired us to
    build on the land that we love!


    We fought for
    the future, destroyed the invader,
    And brought to our homeland the
    laurels of fame!

    Our glory will live in the
    memory of nations,
    all generations will honor their names!

    [repeat until told to stop]

    Update: BIFF?

    Update II: Yes, I just recently posted the Soviet National Anthem, but it's worth regular rehearing, don't you think? Don't you?

    Early JonBenet

    Why can't Peter Boyles pronounce Lou Smit's name correctly? It's not "Schmitt." He also says "normenclature" instead of "nomenclature."

    Oh, news. The Rocky: Handwriting expert points finger at Karr:
    A well-known national handwriting expert said Monday he is 99.9 percent certain John Mark Karr wrote the ransom note found near the scene of JonBenet Ramsey's murder.

    "Most guys are riding the fence," said Curt Baggett, the Texas-based co-founder of the School of Forensic Document Examination. "But there are at least a dozen traits that match up perfectly, when comparing a (high school) yearbook signed by Karr and the ransom note."
    Of course,

    Other experts are less certain than Baggett about the note's origin, and they expect competing testimony should the case ever go to trial . . . .

    One person who could find himself on the other side from the Baggetts and Lehew is Honolulu document examiner Reed Hayes, author of a textbook on forensic handwriting analysis.

    "I do see a few similarities between the writing in the yearbook and the so-called ransom note, but not enough that I would identify him as the writer. . . ."

    Ronald Morris, a Virginia-based expert who spent 23 years as a document examiner with the Secret Service, said everyone is getting ahead of themselves. He said making conclusions without seeing the actual document is "absolute BS."

    He said faxes or newspaper reproductions are two-dimensional, and that actual documents are in 3-D - meaning the amount of pressure a person applies to the pen and the actual dimensions of the lettering are critical in forming an opinion.

    Boyles also calls the Boulder DA Mary "Cagney and" Lacy. He isn't budging an inch on his belief that the Ramseys did it.

    The Boulder Daily Camera: Family: Karr was at '96 Christmas in Ga.":
    The father and brothers of John Mark Karr, the man arrested on suspicion of killing JonBenet Ramsey in Colorado the day after Christmas a decade ago, do not recall him ever missing Christmas dinner in Atlanta or traveling to Colorado after the holiday, a lawyer for the family said Monday.

    Gary Harris said that the suspect's father, Wexford Karr, found a photograph indicating that his son was part of the family's 1996 Christmas gathering, the day before the child beauty queen was found strangled in her home in Boulder.
    The photo "indicated"?
    The Christmas Day photograph does not include John Karr but shows his three sons, who, Harris said, never attended the holiday dinner without their parents. Although the photo is undated, the lawyer said the family is certain it was taken in 1996, because an infant pictured in it, Karr's nephew, was 2 weeks old that Christmas.
    Throw it into the mix.

    Update: Via Boyles, ABC says that when Karr was a baby his mother tried to burn him alive:
    The mother of the suspect in JonBenet Ramsey's murder tried to kill him when he was only a baby, a family friend told ABC News.

    John Karr's mother, Patricia Elaine Adcock "made a big round donut [of kindling] and put him in the middle of it," said George McCrary, 76, who said he has known Karr's father, Wexford Karr, for 40 years.

    "She just boxed the little baby in and tried to light it," McCrary said. John's older brother Michael "came running in just before she got the flame to the flammable material," McCrary added.

    Adcock was later committed to a mental institution . . . .
    Update (11:05 MDT): Karr waived extradition and will be headed to Boulder, perhaps today. Here's the Post's story.

    Update II: The Post also has the home video of John Mark Karr and his mullet.

    Update III: I should be listening to Caplis and Silverman, but somehow can't bring myself to turn on the radio.

    Update IV: Dan Caplis just called Rita Cosby "the superb MSNBC correspondent." Excuse me while I take the gaspipe. Now he's interviewing her. She says Karr's family has gone through "hundreds" of holiday pictures and are "surprised" and "baffled" not to have found one that includes Karr-- yet.

    Update V: Silverman, after recounting the Karr's-mom-tried-to-fry-him story: "That might screw you up."

    Update VI: Yurk. ABC has transcripts of Wendy Hutchens' tapes of John Mark Karr (stick an "alleged" in there somewhere): "I've kissed little girls on the mouth . . ."

    Monday, August 21, 2006

    "Snake on a plane"

    is the title of Countdown's top story, and it's not about the movie. They also have Karr's 1992 Mullet Movie, which I can't seem to find on the internet.

    Update: It would appear that they stole it from the New York Post.

    Afternoon JonBenet

    It's Caplis and Silverman time! (Blech.) Yes, time for KHOW's matchless lawyer duo, and three endless hours of JonBenet! Let's do it!

    Caplis still hates Mary Lacy, but simply can't believe that everyone around her is an utter idiot--they must have something.

    Now they're talking about Wendy Hutchens, the woman who recorded a person she says is John Mark Karr confessing to the killing in 2001. They're going to have her on. [Update: I think I misheard that. Silverman just said that the reason the cops discounted Hutchens' story was that she was "kind of a jailbird type" who knew Richard Allen Davis, the murderer of Polly Klaas. Caplis reads a transcript that does not sound like Karr is confessing. They do not say Hutchens will be on.]

    Caplis reads some piece saying that it might take six weeks to get Karr to Colorado. Silverman says it'll be easy and quick.

    They play a lame comedy piece, Lives of the Rich and Famous, with John Mark Karr beating Mary Lacy with some paté or something.

    In a fascinating article, the Rocky notes that Karr's e-mail address was the date of JonBenet's death. Man.

    They have on a former prosecutor (didn't catch his name) who knows Lacy and also thinks she must have her ducks in a row. Caplis lets fly another anti-Lacy soliloquy. He just can't get by her treatment of the CU football players in the rape case (not indicting them but, according to him, saying they were guilty anyway).

    You can listen to Caplis and Silverman all on your own, you know. They're lousy, but they're Colorado lawyers and they get some knowledgeable people.

    For example, Stephen Singular is on next.

    Caplis asks for his take on Karr--this is a guy with a history of child molestation, was in the online child sex game in 1996 . . . Law enforcement was not up to speed on internet crime back then . . . they're getting totally sidetracked. Do you think he did it, Singular?

    Damn, Silverman just blabs and blabs. Singular says the cops (in the original investigation) told him to investigate the computer kiddie-porn angle himself if he wanted to--not good . . . . Saved By The Cross interpretation of S.B.T.C. has been out there for years . . . . We have not been shown the whole (of JonBenet's) body. There may be something there only a very few people know . . . On the other hand, the eejits never interviewed Karr's wife (as Caz pointed out in comments to the previous post). But wouldn't she, well her lawyer (Silverman asks), have been screaming to the high heavens if the cops were going the wrong way and smearing the father of her children--however much she hates him? Where's the proof?

    Singular: Some among the people around JonBenet and the beauty pageant circuit did it. He's talked to pageant moms who told him that "unsavory characters," pedophiles in fact, gravitated naturally to that milieu, and that they "had to get rid of them." The Ramseys may or may not have been guilty, or only of exposing her to that world.

    Silverman: Pedophiles roaming in a pack?

    Singular: Whether Karr's guilty or not you're opening the door for the first time on the natural milieu of these criminals . . . The investigation in this realm has been completely driven by civilians. . . [man, I gotta get better at typing].

    Caplis: What's your theory?

    S: Let's theorize she was taken out of the house for say, a photo shoot, video event, etc. What I'd already seen on the internet was just a short step to really hurting a child.

    So let's say this happened to JonBenet, and something went wrong. The crime scene that we have assumed to be the crime scene all along may not be the only crime scene. . . There is a natural criminal realm to investigate . . .

    Caller: I was a pageant participant. It was wonderful. Not to say that it doesn't draw sickos . . .

    S: Patsy was disturbed by some of the photos a Denver photog. took of JB (semi-naked, allegedly). For pity's sake, the same photographer took the pictures at Silverman's wedding. Denver's a small (cow) town.

    S: The reason I wrote the book is that the Ramseys put their child in a place where she was exposed to these types of people.

    Caller: After many years of therapy I got over being put on display that way . . . Thrown into a situation where I was expected to act much older than my age . . .

    Good physical evidence for the intruder theory?

    S: I don't think it's that strong. Many more possibilities that it's more complicated than just the Ramseys, or just an intruder. . .

    Caplis at the end of the hour: Even if it was a brilliant move, isn't there something fundamentally wrong with wining and dining the little bugger [he didn't say bugger]?

    Me: I don't like Singular's theory much. It smacks of the 80s-90s hysteria over stories of child-sacrificing cults, not a single one of which turned out to be true (though scores of people went to jail).

    They've played that unfunny tape of "Karr" and "Lacy" on the plane three times in an hour.

    Silverman finds a case that would seem to disqualify anything Karr said on the plane because the DA's cops got him intoxicated.

    Bob Grant, "legendary" Adams County prosecutor and DU law professor: this wining and dining doesn't make any sense to me. Should at least have knocked the champagne glass out of his hand.

    C: Do you think they've got the right guy?

    BG: Ain't gonna say without the DNA!

    Back and forth on the circumstances of Lacy moving when she did.

    It's all if, if, if. DNA, DNA, DNA.

    Break. I thought I might be able to do the whole three hours, but I can't. It's time to attend to other parts of my sad, suddenly monomaniacal life. I mean, my God, I can hardly picture the faces of my children anymore.

    Update (via the Drunkawife): We have no children.

    Monday JonBenet

    The nerve of MSNBC, dumping JonBenet coverage for the prez's press conference.

    Oh well. AP reports Karr is safely lodged in the Los Angeles County Jail. Tough guy quote from sheriff's spokesman somebody or other:
    "He is going to be housed here in the men's jail, kept in isolation in a 6-by-9 room with a bed, a toilet no windows and no phones," Whitmore said. "He'll get regular food. He'll get jail chow, he won't get king crab, I'll tell you that."
    It was king prawn, Mr. Whitmore.

    More info trickling out about Karr allegedly seeking a sex change operation in Bangkok. Now it appears he wasn't taking hormones, but merely had hair removal treatments. Whatever. The doctor who was originally reported by MSNBC to be treating Karr with hormones denied it, sort of, the Denver Post said:

    Dr. Thep Vechavisit, who performs sex-change surgery for $1,625, told The Post he doesn't remember Karr and wouldn't say whether he was a patient.

    Vechavisit, whose storefront Pratunam Polyclinic sits in the middle of the Thai capital's garment district, said he had read the news reports that Karr was one of his patients and was seeking a sex change, but Vechavisit denied he told reporters that. . . .

    "Even if I found his record, I cannot tell you," Vechavisit said of Karr, citing doctor-patient confidentiality. "You will have to ask Mr. Karr." . . .

    Vechavisit showed a newspaper advertisement that ran in an English-language paper that listed prices in U.S. dollars for his services. Breast-enlargement surgery was $1,125; liposuction was $625; a tummy tuck, $1,250; and the removal of testicles, $125.

    Only $125 for removal of my, I mean, one's, testicles? How does he do it? Volume!

    Big gun

    MSNBC has Rita Cosby in Boulder now. She says Karr claimed in an e-mail that his brother worked for the Ramseys, and that he, Karr, attended a Christmas Day party at the Ramseys' house. Unfortunately, the Christmas party happened several days before Christmas.

    Rita also says Karr's ex-wife is still going through records, looking for proof that Karr was home in Alabama over Christmas 1996. Like I say, slow reader.

    Update: The two true-crime authors at conduct a (surprisingly poorly written--hey guys, you're professional writers) back-and forth on JMK. Worth reading for M. William Phelps' utterly plausible alternative for the meaning of "S.B.T.C."
    I found out something else last night. I did some searching for that acronym S.B.T.C. – seems that the most popular phrasing of it is not the end of that ransom note (not even close), like everyone has been insisting, but it more likely means: Saved By The Cross.

    Of course, this has no bearing on whether Karr wrote both "S.B.T.C"'s. Was he religious in high school? After? I haven't seen anything about that, but being raised by his grandparents makes it at least plausible.

    Update II: Here's Wikipedia's entry on Karr. The internets are truly amazing.

    Update III: Jeralyn Merritt--who says Karr's extradition hearing will take place tomorrow, with Karr flying to Boulder that evening-- is saying the same ol' same ol' to Tucker "Dimbulb" Carlson. She's worried that the DA doesn't have a case. Who isn't?

    She just said very confidently that investigators long ago dismissed the significance of S.B.T.C.--but she doesn't know why. She's extremely pissed at the media (always easy), which has been "very inaccurate." She lists all the crap speculation--most of it against the Ramseys. Merritt is clearly in the "intruder" camp--she just doesn't seem to think it was John Mark Karr.

    Update IV: Freelance journalist Michael Sandrock once again tells the story of how Karr seemed to know Boulder when he talked to him in Paris. Still, he's beginning to doubt that Karr did it. Everybody's hedging.

    Update V: Tucker just said that for all the media know, "S.B.T.C" could stand for "Stop beating the clowns," and that they should just shut up about it.

    Sunday, August 20, 2006

    I'll never fly coach again

    Everybody's seen it, but for the record here's John Mark Karr's dinner menu on the flight home from Thailand:
    Karr started with a pate, then had a green salad with walnut dressing. The main course was fried king prawn with steamed rice and broccoli, followed by a slice of Valrhona chocolate cake for desert [sic]. Karr drank a beer, crushing the can with his hands [note the plural, guys--ed.] when it was empty, then moved on to a glass of French chardonnay with his main course.
    The Drunkawife and I flew business class once, and all it took was bad weather cancelling our flight to Spain. No little-girl murdering at all. At least, on my part.

    A prominent criminal defense attorney says this wining and dining of Karr was a "brilliant move":
    Denver attorney Larry Pozner, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said the royal treatment during Sunday's journey — king prawns, champagne, French wine — was ''a brilliant move.''

    ''What the cops want most is this guy to talk. They say he is not under arrest. Then they do not put him in handcuffs on the plane. And they say he is over the age of 21, free to drink,'' Pozner said. ''He is therefore free to talk.''

    If Karr says something incriminating that is challenged in court, Pozner said, the investigator who was sitting next to him simply says he was never in my custody.

    ''There is always a reason when the unusual happens,'' Pozner said. ''He is in nobody's custody. He is free to leave if he can find a way at 38,000 feet.''
    I bet all those cops would be glad to show Karr the way.

    Update: The second Mrs. John Mark Karr must be a slow reader. Why else would it be taking so long for her to go through her "records and photographs" to confirm that JMK was home that Christmas? I could literally (literally!) have gone through every document in the Library of Congress by now, and I can barely read.

    Update II (10:32 p.m. MDT): John Mark Karr has just landed at LAX! They're showing his plane live on MSNBC! It's taxiing!

    Update III: Do you think John Mark Karr got a tour of the cockpit?

    Update IV: Of course, that reminds me of the scene in Airplane where pilot Peter Graves asks the young boy getting a tour of the cockpit, "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?"

    Sunday JonBenet

    Yes, Karr is on his way home. Champagne for everybody!

    I was going to suggest a makeover for the "man," but this wouldn't be it.

    Speaking of which, MSNBC is saying that Karr had been undergoing hormone treatments in preparation for a sex-change operation. Reminds me of "Buffalo Bill," the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs, who also thought he just wanted to be a girl.

    Rocky editor John Temple notes how the frenzy over the case has increased, to say the least, the RMN's website traffic:

    The main JonBenet story generated more traffic on Wednesday than our entire site usually does on a typical weekday. The top eight stories on the site were about this case.

    On Thursday traffic was even heavier. By the time most office workers on the East Coast headed home, we already had exceeded 1 million page views. More than 700,000 people visited on Thursday. On Friday, by 8:30 a.m. we already had had more traffic than the entire Friday the week before.
    Yeah, but is the Rocky selling more of its print edition?

    Update: Boulder freelance reporter Michael Sandrock, who talked about the "little smile" Karr gave when Sandrock mentioned how most people thought the Ramseys had murdered JonBenet, said on MSNBC this morning that he got the impression Karr had been to Boulder, saying he, Karr, had described the Boulder Daily Camera building and seemed to know local landmarks like Chatauqua Park. Everybody say "hmmmmm."

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Sat Eve Post 10-24-64

    Goldwasser! Mit der flaggen flugeling in der vind! Heil! (No idea why I'm talkin' fake nazi about Goldwater, since he was nothing like one--probably a hangover from my salmon-diaper baby upbringing.)

    And who are these two, the Master Race? (Actually this photo looks remarkably like a painting by Norman Rockwell, doesn't it? He, of course, did scores of covers for the Post.)

    All the cool kids were in the "Goldwater a go go club."

    Goldwater was a hellacious photographer of the Southwest,
    and even ran the Green River.

    Enough G-water. Let's get to the astounding advances in technology.

    Yeah, astounding.

    Actually I just wanted to make fun of this dork:

    My eye! My eye!: The incalculable power of the laser as it lights a flashbulb.

    The obligatory ad:

    The underwear did better than lots of people do.

    The sports story. The black guy is Rubin "Hurricane" Carter.
    He lost the 15-rounder in a unanimous decision, and it was all downhill from there.

    (More old-timey magazine "fun" here, here, here, and if you're not catatonic yet, here.)

    Update: even though the "Hurricane" link says its a "preview," the whole tune will play. It's pretty good Dylan.

    Saturday JonBent, er, JonBenet

    Hey, MSNBC finally gave Jeralyn Merritt a downtown Denver backdrop for her talking head spots. She says she still doesn't know if Karr is legit, so she's said essentially the same thing for three days now. Take back the backdrop!

    M. William Phelps, a true-crime writer I'd never heard of before (sorry) who runs a site called, left this comment in the previous JonBenet post:

    The news coming out of Thailand today is mind-blowing. Karr has not backed down from his original statement and now says he got the $118,000 figure from John Ramsey’s checkbook while rummaging through the house that night. Those handwriting samples are strikingly similar–at least to me. The language seems to match up somewhat. Karr will be back tomorrow night in LA. When they formally charge him upon entering the US, there’s a good possibility they’ll release the affidavit accompanying the warrant. As a true crime author, those affidavits are terrifically detailed documents I study with wide eyes. Can’t wait for that thing to fly around the Internet like a virus. It’ll certainly answer a lot of questions. I don’t know … I’m leaning the other way now. Things might be adding up.Then again, maybe not. We’re working on a post now that offers some VERY interesting theories re: Patsy and Karr having known each other.
    I have no idea where Phelps gets his info or his theories, but--there you go.

    JonBenet quote of the day: "The idea that John and Patsy Ramsey were involved in their 6-year-old daughter's death brought a 'little smile' from Karr [Boulder freelance journalist Michael] Sandrock said"--Rocky Mountain News.

    Update: Return of the teddy bear.

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    Churchill's children

    Pirate Ballerina, besides taking a small shot at the D-blog for his sudden JonBenet mania (and I'm still on my medication(s)!), introduces us to a "congregation of little churchills"--the graduate students of the Department of Ethnic Studies of the University of California at Berkeley. Gerardo Arrellano, for example, wants to investigate the "Criminalization of immigrant bodies," while Karina Cespedes is pursuing "Tourism and Sex-work Studies with a focus on Cuba/the Caribbean." Steven Lee is interested in Asian Studies, but also "(Race &) Masculinity Studies" and "(Race &) Feminist Theory."

    Marci A. Chin will pursue "Women of color in U.S. prisons" (now that sounds okay, if you leave out all Marci's boring qualifications); Victor Rios wants to define "the field of Youth Culture Studies as a space where theory, method, and political praxis are generated to understand social constructions of poor, racialized, gendered urban Youth"; and Robert Soza wants to do "'Holocaust' Studies in the Americas" (yes, his quotes).

    But don't forget: Ward Churchill is utterly unrepresentative of ethnic studies folks in general.

    Karr knew details

    Just noticed the front page of the Denver Post: "CNN: Karr knew secrets in JonBenet case":

    JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr gave authorities graphic details about the condition of the 6-year-old's body that have never been publicly revealed, a U.S. law enforcement source told CNN today.

    Those details were known only to the medical examiner and the investigators investigating the December 26, 1996 slaying of the beauty pageant competitor, the law enforcement official
    said . . . .

    Some of the details Karr shared were gruesome - and accurate - the source said.

    As cracks in the confession of Karr, combined with the Boulder prosecutor's unusual caution, fueled skepticism about the apparent break in the decade-old murder case, this report lends some credibility to his claims.

    Skepticism has been rampant the past 24 hours as Karr, detained Wednesday in Thailand, made some questionable claims to reporters in Bangkok while admitting to the 6-year-old's December 1996 slaying - a crime he called an "accident" when a kidnapping scheme went bad . . . .

    Update: Strange the News doesn't have it. The Post's timestamp on the story says 4:05:06 MDT.

    Update II: One of our tenants suggested I check out this episode of South Park, in which the Ramseys make a guest appearance (be sure to read the second quote in the "quotes" section).

    Update III (11:56 p.m. MDT): More weirdness. The Post has a story titled "Karr may have sought kids on the Net" in its front-page list of stories, but clicking on it gets only, "The content item you have requested is no longer available."

    Update IV: It's back now, updated, and it's, yes, bizarre.

    Update V: MSNBC only now (8:06 a.m. MDT August 19) has the S.B.T.C.-yearbook story. Seems like that happened last year, doesn't it? They also say Karr is under suicide watch in Bangkok but will be flown back to the U.S. tomorrow--business class.

    Evening Jon Benet; or, A Big Friday Night

    7:06: John Mark Karr's ex-wife has said that he was always at home over Christmas. On Chip Scarborough now her lawyer seems to be hedging with phrases like "off the top of her head," and "she's going through records." He also said that her life with Karr was extremely awful.

    Scarby also has Mark Klaas, Polly Klaas's father, and Jeralyn Merritt. He talked to Klaas about the "correspondence" between his child's murderer and Karr, apparently for Karr's supposed "book." When he found out about it, Klaas said, he told (somebody--sorry I didn't hear who) we don't want this guy (Karr) anywhere near us.

    Lawyer or something Wendy Murphy: The "never-released information" Karr supposedly knew could easily have been leaked, perhaps by Lou Smit. (There's the first I've heard of him since the story broke.)

    Patsy's sister: There might be similarities between some of his writing in the e-mails--very prolific, very effusive--and the ransom note. I'm not saying anything for sure. . . . I have faith in Mary Lacy. She would not have done this if she didn't have some key pieces . . . .

    Scarborough: If they're wrong that would make them the Keystone Kops of the 21st Century. (Joe's so smart.)

    Klaas: The first investigation sucked . . . Why didn't this investigation call his ex-wife beforehand?

    Wendy: And no one made a single phone call to check if he was in the damn state of Colorado?

    How does she know that?

    Bizarre and Bizarre-er

    The AP (VIA the Post) says condemned child-killer Richard Allen Davis's cell was searched for evidence in the Ramsey case:
    Prison guards searched the death row cell of Polly Klaas' killer after learning he may have corresponded with the suspect in the decade-old slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, authorities said Friday.

    Guards at San Quentin State Prison searched Richard Allen Davis' cell Thursday, but would not immediately disclose what they found . . . .

    Davis, 52, was sentenced to death for the 1993 kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas. The girl was from Petaluma, where suspect John Mark Karr lived from 2000 to 2001, when Karr was charged with misdemeanor possession of child pornography.
    Update: AP just workin' like dogs to dig up the trash: "Karr targeted JonBenet look-a-like as sub teacher."

    Update II: AP via the Rocky: "No link in Klass killer's cell." Misspelling of "Klaas," sic.


    The Boulder DA's office thinks it might have an explanation for the mysterious letters S.B.T.C. that appear at the end of the JonBenet ransom note, the RMN reports:

    HAMILTON, Ala. - Boulder District attorney's officials are in contact with a former classmate of John Mark Karr because she has a yearbook signed by him more than 20 years ago that may reveal the answer to one of the great mysteries of the JonBenet Ramsey ransom note - what does "S.B.T.C" stand for?

    In the yearbook, Karr signed the classmate’s page and ended his missive with the line, "Though, deep in the future, maybe I shall be the conqueror and live in multiple peace." The words "shall be the conqueror" do not appear anywhere as an acronym, but they are written in upper case characters.

    Reaching? Who cares! What I want to know is, what's "multiple peace?"

    Update: Here's the yearbook page as shown on the front page of the Rocky right now:

    Chump change

    Thought I'd seen every possible derisive reworking of Noam Chomsky's name: Chumpsky, Num Chumpsky, Chumps, Chimpsky, Nim Chimpsky, Chomps, C.H.O.M.P.S., Chompster--you get the idea. But it took one of those interminable Chumpster (!) interviews at Znet to find the
    best--because inadvertent--name change:
    Last week, a group of renowned intellectuals published an open letter blaming Israel for escalating the conflict in the Middle East. The letter, which mainly referred to the alignment of forces between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, caused a lot of anger among Ynet and Ynetnews readers, particularly due to its claim that the Israeli policy's political aim is to eliminate the Palestinian nation.

    The letter was formulated by art critic and author John Berger and among its signatories were Nobel Prize winner, playwright Harold Pinter, linguist and theoretician Noam Chomsly, Nobel Prize laureate José Saramago, Booker Prize laureate Arundhati Roy, American author Russell Banks, author and playwright Gore Vidal, and historian Howard Zinn.
    Chomsly! Renowned intellectual Noam Chomsly. Always serve from the left, Chomsly! Empty my dribble cup, Chomsly!

    Sorry, I didn't read the interview. But here's the Berger letter. The only two "major newspapers" that printed it, far as I could tell, were (drumroll, please): The Independent and the Grauniad!

    This picture has nothing to do with the post above.


    Disheartening to realize that I've already seen the video of John Mark Karr confessing more times than I've seen that horrible video of Brangelina waving lights at the Muhammed Ali Center in Louisville. Can't find it at the moment, but you know the one I mean:

    I think I'm going to be sick.

    The News got hold of some of Karr's e-mails to CU professor Michael Tracey. Ultra-creepy:

    He asked Tracey to visit JonBenet Ramsey's old house in Boulder and read aloud an ode he called JonBenet, My Love.

    "JonBenet, my love, my life. I love you and shall forever love you. I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness - this darkness that now separates us," it read, in part. . . .

    [Another e-mail reads] "I will tell you that I can understand people like Michael Jackson and feel sympathy when he suffers as he has. I do think that he is sexually attracted to certain children but could never divulge this. He made an attempt when he talked of sleeping with little boys but was completely misunderstood. I think he made an assertion and quickly had to back down. On the other hand, his comments might have had nothing to do with having the type of sex one might equate with the sense of the term, sex."


    News again: Not real normal.

    Post: Just a nice person.

    Post: More on Tracey.

    Haven't yet heard anybody use the phrase, "Don't try to grow a brain, John."

    Oh man. From the Post via AP:

    Authorities asked Patsy Ramsey in late May - a month before she died of cancer - whether she would be willing to meet with the man who claims he killed her 6-year-old daughter, the Ramsey family's attorney said Friday.

    Ramsey said she would meet with John Mark Karr if it would advance the investigation into JonBenet Ramsey's Christmastime 1996 slaying, but the meeting never took place because authorities did not get back to her before she died in June, attorney Lin Wood said.

    Update: That should read, "From AP via the Post."

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Last JB (today)

    Now Dan Abrams has former Boulder deputy DA Trip DeMuth, Larry Posner and somebody named Dawna Kaufman from the National Enquirer. Like me they don't get it, don't like it, but have trouble believing the Boulder DA could be so incompetent.

    Praise Jesus, MSNBC finally went to a years-old rerun of John Siegenthaler on The Iron Heart of Vengeful Justice and the Bloody Hands of Murdering Murderousness or whatever it's
    called (crummy real-life crime show which MSNBC doesn't even mention on their own website).

    Whew: More JonBenet!

    Craig Silverman, Dan Caplis' radio partner on Denver's KHOW, whom Drunkablog readers will know from the Ward Churchill fracas, is on MSNBC. He doesn't have confidence in Boulder DA Lacy either, but he thinks Lacy must have unrevealed evidence or she's "putting her job in jeopardy." MSNBC anchor-skank: Is John Ramsey vindicated? Silverman: Noe-ba way-ba.

    "Famed defense attorney" Mickey Sherman on MS, asked how he would defend Karr: First thing I'd do is make them sign over everything they owned for the rest of their lives . . . .

    Anchor-skank: All two cents? (Sorry, I'll figure out her name. "Anchor-skank" is undignified.) John Ramsey and Ramsey attorney Lin Wood are taking the high road. What's her name holds up the Daily News, with a picture of JB and the 8000-point headline: "Solved!" Sherman (a New Yorker): New Yorkers are dumb (now that's a paraphrase).

    Jeralyn Merritt back on from Denver: Case seems in such disarray that Lacy may be up against speedy trial limits . . . . Again, no drugs found in JonBenet. Merritt even sees problems with Karr's extradition. Thailand is deporting him; there may not be a formal custody hearing . . . . Anchorperson: Do you think they got the right guy? Merritt: I have no idea . . . .

    Has Merritt taken back her assertion last night that DNA tied Karr to JonBenet? Has 9News? Me go look. Not Jeralyn. She's got maybe three later posts on the case, and then an open thread because she's too busy:
    My schedule (all subject to change without notice, that's how it works and studio space is double-booked all over town today) : Tucker Carlson 4:30 ET, Catherine Crier (court tv) 5:30 pm, Paula Zahn, 8:00 ET, Hannity and Colmes, between 9 and 10 pm, MSNBC special with Dan Abrams, 10 to 11 pm.

    Odd, that's the D-blog's schedule too, except in reverse!

    Oh God. Time for Caplis and Silverman.

    Silverman: Karr looked like he belonged in a mental institution. If there were ever a false confesser . . . But if the DNA matches . . . .

    More dissing of Michael Tracey, the CU professor who exchanged hundreds of e-mails with Karr . . . .

    Caplis: You have to be suspicious of these communications . . . . Did Tracey provide him with inside information? Is that anything bad like obstruction of justice . . . . I'm not accusing him of anything . . . .

    Caplis: Karr looked like a drugged Lee Harvey Oswald . . . . Could he be saying what he is just to get out of Thailand? [Caplis is an idiot.]

    Bumper music: One Night in Bangkok. Tasteful. Caplis also has his belittling name for DA Lacy's press conference: The Awards Show. "I thought you waited till the end of the movie before you had the awards show."

    9News "legal analyst" Scott Robinson ain't convinced either.

    Chris Matthews just now on Hardball: "There's something about this guy [Karr] that reminds me of Tony Perkins in Psycho."

    Craigie had to leave to "do O'Reilly." Yurk.

    Rocky: Wack-job or murderer?

    Caplis again: Mary Lacy is politically motivated . . . We've seen that from the CU football case [I still don't how she aroused Caplis' ire in that case].

    Wack-jobs galore on the RMN JonBenet thread.

    It do seem like the Post is lagging behind the Rocky on the story. And everybody's lagging behind MSNBC, which is not a compliment to MSNBC.

    Has Henry "Something wrong" Lee ever just walked by a microphone? Caplis and Silverman are going to interview him. I think there's an old Mr. Microphone around here somewhere. I'll see if I can't get a few words with the renowned doctor.

    Now C & S are arguing over which of them came up with the "drugged Lee Harvey Oswald" line. What a couple of freaks.

    Why Caplis hates Lacy: He says she called CU football players guilty of rape while declining to charge them. Still can't find anything about it, but maybe she's in Channel 9's archive somewhere.

    The Post has a piece on the skeptics now.

    Greta Van Susteren on C & S: I don't think they've got the right guy. The press conference was an embarrassment. Boulder has a police department that doesn't know what it's doing. . . .

    I'd forgotten C & S's nearly infinite ability to say the same thing over and over.

    Caplis: Why didn't Lacy have Sonoma County, California, where Karr was already wanted on kiddie-porn charges, extradite him? Silverman: Instead she put herself out on a limb. Why unless they had solid evidence? Caplis: Maybe she holds the ace. I hope she does [yeah, suuurrre you do, Dan].

    Peter Boyles on C & S now. Three li'l skeptics, all in a row.

    Hey, where's Lou Smit, the cop who resigned? Haven't seen hide nor hair of him.

    Here's something nobody else has mentioned: In her press conference Mary Lacy used the word "poignant" and pronounced it with a hard "g."

    Caplis reads an e-mail: What's with all the anti-Lacy verbiage? You sound like Lacy dumped you back in college. Caplis goes through the football rape case. Silverman: Did you ever ask her for a date? Hold hands with her in court? Caplis: No (paraphrase).

    Caplis calls a news conference a "presser."

    At least the Drunkablog's JonBenet posts are better than Wretchard's pathetic silence over at the Belmont Club. He doesn't have a thing! He's still maundering on about Solzehnitsyn! Solzhenitsyn! I spell his name two different ways to demonstrate my contempt!

    MSNBC's Chuck or Joe or Bob Scarborough has a body language expert talking about Karr--

    He's shifty. He's nervous. He's remembering something terrible. Shoulders hunched. No confidence.

    Jeez, penetrating.

    Chuck or Bob or Joe segment title: "Did Boulder blow it again?"

    Whoa, a psychic's drawing of a JonBenet suspect from back in '98 is not horribly far off. She even got Karr's eyes with their staring look like those creepy paintings of big-eyed children.

    I do not believe in psychics.

    O/T: For pity's sake.

    Henry Lee (sic) and Denver criminal attorney Larry Posner with Dan Abrams on MSNBC. Nobody believes Karr anymore, but I still have trouble believing that the Boulder DA's office could be that inept (again). Guess we'll see.

    Time for a new post.