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Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Blogpatrol rhyme 



Hayley McQueen
Kevin and Bean
Christopher Nance
Let's to to France



If you like that, I have others.

Speaking of Hayley McQueen, here's part of an interview:


Do you enjoy working for Sky Sports, and is it as fun as it looks?

It's more fun than it looks! I worked really hard for my degree & specialised in Journalism. I've worked behind the scenes reporting & producing elsewhere for 5 years, 3 of those at 'Boro TV, I'm very lucky as I'm doing something which I truly love & getting paid to do it. The next best thing would have been to actually play football - I'm quite tall so I reckon If I'd have been a boy I'd have made a cracking defender!



OK, let's check on The Bean:


Clyde Tombaugh's proud little pebble has received more press coverage this month than at any time in the past 76 years. I am happy to see so many people not just taking the planet demotion decision lying down. It turns out I am not alone and there are many, many Pluto enthusiasts around the world.

Reader "Sumthing" writes, "Bean, I can't believe those lousy scientists demoting Pluto. This is the latest example of Anti-Americanism. If Pluto were found by some goddamned cheese-eating surrender monkey Frenchman, those a**holes would be bending over backwards to keep it a planet, but no!

It was discovered by an American, so it's not good enough to be a planet! Those bastards are always trying to keep a black planet down. Well, I say we demote one of those gay planets the scientists love so much! I say Mercury is too close to the sun!" Amen!



And before you think that Sumthing is insane, don't forget that the Olympics removed baseball as a sport. So there may be something to the theory.

Which leaves us with Christopher Nance. I missed this item written by Tod Goldberg a few months back. Excerpts:


...He was, as most weathermen are, completely ineffectual predicting the weather. His acumen as a children's book writer is an unknown quantity here in the Goldberg home as I make it a policy not to purchase any books penned by former local NBC newscasters (which is why I don't own any Kelly Lange novels, either)....Nance was fired from NBC amid rather sordid allegations involving violence, sex, and, curiously, predicting it would be 72 and windy in Rialto on a day when it was 69 and hazy....

Don't weep for Christopher Nance, though, because for just $500 he'll tell you what else you can watch on TV and how to get those Godless network bigwigs to bow down to your moral will in utter supplication. Of course, for $500 you can also simply hire Chris to MC your event. I'm willing to put up $100. Maybe I can convince my siblings to come up with the other $400 and the four of us will do a signing with Christopher Nance running the show, provided God doesn't destroy the whole of LA before the check clears.



And there are more theological aspects to this:


Posted By: UnRegistered
Date: 6/5/2003 2:20:09 PM
Comments:
I have a topic you may be interested in writing about: Christians who have been removed from their positions for not being politically correct or not being in-line with the companies' anti-Christian policies.
Example: Christopher Nance, well known, NBC-4 weatherman in Los Angeles, who was fired in December (after 15 years) for reading the Bible in the Studio. His website www.weatherdude.com



However, I'm not exactly sure what verses he was reading to the technical director one morning, or what verses he was reading to the female anchor at her desk, or what verses he was reading to the station vice president. More here and here.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

I say what's the word? Register! 


I have two Jennifers who are both bloggers and MySpace friends, and I've managed to work both of them into a single post.

I really need to bookmark stuff before I throw it away and spout off about it anyway. When the New York Jennifer wrote about Google's effort to protect its trademark with media organizations, I immediately thought of Google's sudden self-interest in copyright and trademark protection. Although I can't find the original link that discussed this, here comes another one (and yes, that is the title of a Monty Python song, and George Harrison was probably somehow associated with the song, he's so fine, don't you know?).


Google has been pooh-poohing authors and publishers, who are suing Google for violating their copyrights by scanning copyrighted books without the copyright holders' permissions. But at the same time Google ignores copyright law, it has developed its own digital-rights-management scheme for protecting copyrighted data downloaded from its new pay-for-video site.


Preston Galla wrote this long before Google mailed its missive:


Search engine giant Google, known for its mantra "don't be evil", has fired off a series of legal letters to media organisations, warning them against using its name as a verb.


Trademark infringement has been on my mind for years for one reason or another, either work-related or due to various personal interests (such as the "googled" thingie above). So imagine what went through my mind when the Ohio Jennifer wrote the following in response to my Katie Couric post:


Where can I get that digital airbrushing software?


I immediately thought of all of the blog posts that I read, but DIDN'T link to for one reason or another. Here are a few examples of the posts that I saw:

Couric Photoshopped

CBS' Katie Couric Photoshopped By Network!

Katie Couric Gets Photoshopped by CBS PR

I think you see where this is going. So let's go there:


Trademarks help protect corporate and product identity, and Photoshop is one of Adobe's most valuable trademarks. By following the below guidelines, you can help Adobe protect the Photoshop brand name.

The Photoshop trademark must never be used as a common verb or as a noun. The Photoshop trademark should always be capitalized and should never be used in possessive form, or as a slang term. It should be used as an adjective to describe the product, and should never be used in abbreviated form.



And if people are saying that Adobe and Google are being silly, and that people will always identify the word with the company, think again:


[I]f a court rules that a trademark has become "generic" through common use (such that the mark no longer performs the essential trademark function and the average consumer no longer considers that exclusive rights attach to it), the corresponding registration may also be ruled invalid.

For example, the Bayer company's trademark "Aspirin" has been ruled generic in the United States, so other companies may use that name for acetylsalicylic acid as well (although it is still a trademark in Canada). Xerox for copiers and Band-Aid for adhesive bandages are both trademarks which are at risk of succumbing to genericide, which the respective trademark owners actively seek to prevent. In order to prevent marks becoming generic, trademark owners often contact those who appear to be using the trademark incorrectly, from web page authors to dictionary editors, and request that they cease the improper usage. The proper use of a trademark means using the mark as an adjective, not as a noun or a verb...though for certain trademarks, use as nouns and, less commonly, verbs is common.



But don't cry for Bayer too much. While they may have lost the aspirin trademark here in the United States, there's another trademark that they also lost, and I bet they're glad they lost it:


Between 1897 and 1914, [Heinrich] Dreser worked for Bayer, the former dye factory that was to become the first of the world's pharmaceutical giants, in Wuppertal, north-west Germany....

As head of Bayer's pharmacological laboratory, he was responsible for the launch of two drugs that have shaped the way we live: aspirin, the world's most successful legal drug; and heroin, the most successful illegal one....

The centenary of heroin is...ambiguous: it was launched in November 1898 but was registered as a trademark in various countries from June that year, most lucratively in the US in August. But whenever the centenary falls, Bayer won't be celebrating....

Like aspirin, the drug that Bayer launched under the trademark Heroin in 1898 was not an original discovery. Diacetylmorphine, a white, odourless, bitter, crystalline powder deriving from morphine, had been invented in 1874 by an English chemist, C R Wright.

But Dreser was the first to see its commercial potential. Scientists had been looking for some time for a non-addictive substitute for morphine, then widely used as a painkiller and in the treatment of respiratory diseases. If diacetylmorphine could be shown to be such a product, Bayer - and Dreser - would hit the jackpot.

Diacetylmorphine was first synthesised in the Bayer laboratory in 1897 - by Hoffmann, two weeks after he first synthesised ASA. The work seems to have been initiated by Dreser, who was by then aware of Wright's discovery, even though he subsequently implied that heroin was an original Bayer invention.

By early 1898 was testing it on sticklebacks, frogs and rabbits. He also tested it on some of Bayer's workers, and on himself. The workers loved it, some saying it made them feel "heroic" (heroisch). This was also the term used by chemists to describe any strong drug (and diacetylmorphine is four times stronger than morphine). Creating a brand name was easy....



But before we pooh pooh this whole thing, we need to look at this invention in the context of the time.


"What we don't recognise now," says David Muso, professor of psychiatry and the history of medicine at Yale Medical School, "is that this met what was then a desperate need - not for a painkiller, but for a cough remedy".


Let's continue with the story:


By 1899, Bayer was producing about a ton of heroin a year, and exporting the drug to 23 countries. The country where it really took off was the US, where there was already a large population of morphine addicts, a craze for patent medicines, and a relatively lax regulatory framework. Manufacturers of cough syrup were soon lacing their products with Bayer heroin....

But worrying rumours were surfacing. As early as 1899, researchers began to report patients developing "tolerance" to the drug, while a German researcher denounced it as "an extremely dangerous poison". By 1902 - when heroin sales were accounting for roughly five percent of Bayer's net profits - French and American researchers were reporting cases of "heroinism" and addiction.

The bandwagon took time to stop. Between 1899 and 1905, at least 180 clinical works on heroin were published around the world, and most were favourable, if cautious. In 1906, the American Medical Association approved heroin for medical use, though with strong reservations about a "habit" that was "readily formed"....

In 1913, Bayer decided to stop making heroin. There had been an explosion of heroinrelated admissions at New York and Philadelphia hospitals, and in East Coast cities a substantial population of recreational users was reported (some supported their habits by collecting and selling scrap metal, hence the name "junkie"). Prohibition seemed inevitable and, sure enough, the next year the use of heroin without prescription was outlawed in the US. (A court ruling in 1919 also determined it illegal for doctors to prescribe it to addicts.)



Eventually, Bayer let its Heroin trademark lapse. So now any "enterprise" can sell heroin without paying Bayer. Hey, Carolyn Kepcher's out of a job - perhaps she can develop a business plan.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(3) comments links to this post

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Photogate, Daughter of Watergate 


There are so many angles via which the Katie Couric photo retouching story can be approached - the responsibility of a news organization, the proper control of low-level workers, etc.

First, the Couric story:


No, Katie Couric didn't suddenly lose 20 pounds.

The incoming "CBS Evening News" anchor appears significantly thinner in a network promotional magazine photo thanks to digital airbrushing.

The touched-up photo of Couric dressed in a striped business suit appears on the inside of the September issue of Watch! which is distributed at CBS stations and on American Airlines flights....

Gil Schwartz, executive vice president of communications for CBS Corp., said Wednesday in a phone interview the photo alteration was done by someone in the CBS photo department who "got a little zealous."

But he dismissed any notion of heads rolling over the matter.

"I talked to my photo department, we had a discussion about it," Schwartz said. "I think photo understands this is not something we'd do in the future."



My first reaction was that the mysterious "someone in the CBS photo department" is sending wrong messages to females - namely, that women have to be thin to have value. But I suspect that my reaction is only half right. Here is a reporter job description (emphasis mine):


Reporter - Long Island
Rainbow Media Holdings
Woodbury, NY
Looking for someone to generate story ideas, gather information, and produce and present stories and other content for all platforms and in a manner that is clear, relevant and meaningful to news consumers. Ensure all content meets News 12 Network standards for journalistic integrity and production quality. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of one year Full-time professional news reporting experience preferred as well as a Bachelor`s degree or equivalent experience. Should have on-air performance, effective news writing ability for all platforms and a knowledge of news gathering equipment and computers. Must maintain professional personal appearance as defined by News 12 management. An understanding of news production techniques, ability to develop engaging presentation and the ability to analyze news situations in order to provide accurate information, insight, and perspective are highly essential to position. Should have a valid driver`s license with good driving record and should be flexible to work any assigned shift. Must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills as well as the ability to identify problems and develop solutions. To apply, please copy URL below into browser. Cablevision is an equal opportunity employer. Please forward tapes for review to: News 12 Long Island Att: Staffing Department One Media Crossways Woodbury, NY 11797



Maybe it's just because of the brief format, but the personal appearance requirement seems rather vague and arbitrary. It could mean that the employee will receive written guidelines, or it could mean that any executive could walk by and say, "Put some makeup on now!"

Of course, New York has a long way to go to catch up to North Korea (2005 article):


North Korea has launched an intensive media assault on its latest arch enemy - the wrong haircut.

A campaign exhorting men to get a proper short-back-and-sides has been aired by state-run Pyongyang television.

The series is entitled Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle....

It stressed the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.

Men should get a haircut every 15 days, it recommended....

State radio programmes such as "Dressing in accordance with our people's emotion and taste" link clothes and appearance with the wearer's "ideological and mental state".

Tidy attire "is important in repelling the enemies' manoeuvres to infiltrate corrupt capitalist ideas and lifestyle and establishing the socialist lifestyle of the military-first era," the radio says.



Military first era? Boy, patriotic Americans must have those Communists - reductio ad stalin, or sumfin. Perhaps not:


QUESTION: You've said that schools need to have enough structure and discipline to require certain behavior from children whether or not they have a natural interest in the subject being taught. Then you must favor a very structured, teacher-led program, where student behavior is rather tightly controlled. Why?

DR. DOBSON: One of the purposes of education is to prepare a young person for later life. To survive as an adult in this society, one needs to know how to work, how to get there on time, how to get along with others, how to stay with a task until completed and, yes, how to submit to authority.

In short, it takes a good measure of self-discipline and control to cope with the demands of modern living. Maybe one of the greatest gifts a loving teacher can contribute to an immature child, therefore, is to help her learn to sit when she feels like running, to raise her hand when she feels like talking, to be polite to her neighbor, to stand in line without smacking the kid in front, and to do English when she feels like doing soccer.

I would also like to see our schools readopt reasonable dress codes, eliminating suggestive clothing, T-shirts with profanity or those promoting heavy-metal bands, etc. Guidelines concerning good grooming and cleanliness should also be enforced.

I know! I know! These notions are so alien to us now that we can hardly imagine such a thing, but the benefits would be apparent immediately. Admittedly, hairstyles and matters of momentary fashion are of no particular significance, but adherence to a standard is an important element of discipline. The military has understood that for 5,000 years.

If one examines the secret behind a championship football team, a magnificent orchestra or a successful business, the principal ingredient is invariably discipline. Preparation for this disciplinary lifestyle should begin in childhood. That's why I think it's a mistake to require nothing of children: to place no demands on their behavior, to allow them to giggle, fight, talk and play in the classroom. We all need to adhere to reasonable rules, and school is a good place to get acquainted with how that is done.



I seem to have strayed from my original topic, but as long as I'm out here, let's consider this:


1 Corinthians 11:11-16 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

11In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 13Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering. 16If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.



More here (warning: if you follow this link, you'll REALLY go off on a tangent and get embroiled in the consubstantiation issue).

So, back to the question re whether Katie Couric is too fat to be a news anchor. According to the Media Research Center, the only thing fat about Couric is her paycheck. Media Research Center presented this Couric quote, a question that she asked Joel Osteen:


"You signed a $13 million book deal, which I understand is bigger than Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, and Pope John Paul II, so how do you square your wealth with the tenets of Christianity?...[The Bible] said, this is Matthew 19, verses 23 and 24, ‘Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth. It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."’...It makes you wonder about your claim that wealth is a positive thing."


Here's how Media Research Center captioned this quote:


NBC’s Katie Couric, who is poised to make $15 million a year as the new anchor of the CBS Evening News, to TV minister Joel Osteen on Today, May 9.


Pink Armadillo says the following about Photogate:


No wonder people prefer to get their news from The Daily Show. At least they admit their fakery! Gosh, I just don't know what to believe anymore. I'm so disillusioned with it all!


And Jolt! introduces the story as follows:


Can Katie Couric pull her weight as a news heavy hitter after years as a morning show host?


Jolt! goes on to say the following:


Couric claims she knew nothing about the photo doctoring. AAAAAAANT. Wrong answer! Airbrusing is commonplace in magazines and someone as media savvy as Couric should have known that it was a possibility. Most of my celebrity clients who have trust and credibility as cornerstones of their personal leader brands make photographers sign "no doctoring" clauses before a photo shoot even begins. Couric has had her photo taken enough to know what goes on in the magazine biz. I am very surprised she didn't take the necessary precautionary steps to protect her personal brand.


And I'll close with Keith Boykin's take:


Katie Couric starts her new job as CBS News Anchor next month and already they're working her to the bone.


From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(3) comments links to this post

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh yeah...they caught Warren Jeffs 


Followup.

Here's the latest:


A fugitive polygamist leader who was on the FBI's Most Wanted List was found with cell phones, laptop computers, wigs and more than $50,000 in cash when he was arrested, authorities said Tuesday.

Warren Steed Jeffs, 50, was arrested without incident and no weapons were found when he and two others were pulled over on a routine stop and taken into custody late Monday, said FBI special agent in charge Steven Martinez.

Jeffs, who was not driving, was stopped in a 2007 red Cadillac Escalade by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 just north of Las Vegas.

He was being held in Clark County jail and faces sexual misconduct charges in Utah and Arizona for allegedly arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

Fascists again 


At times I have commented on the common misuse and overuse of the term "fascist." In fact, I wrote about this ad nauseum back in January 2005. Some lowlights:


I've talked in the past about how certain people like to apply the term "fascist" to anyone with whom they don't agree, and I've also noted that the "Not One Damn Dime" people, who apparently want a complete pullout from Iraq, probably disagree with John Kerry's views on how the war should be prosecuted. In fact, I alleged that they would have no problem chanting "John Kerry is a fascist."

It turns out that there really ARE people who label Kerry as a fascist - which again proves how the term "fascist" is so often misused....

But it's not only the right that is calling Kerry a Fascist. The far far left is also using the term (note that they also use the term "Amerika," but with only one K rather than three; "U.$." is also a nice touch)....

I hate to break it to all the name-callers, but fascism is actually an economic system that is not really related to the foreign policies of George W. Bush or John Kerry, though it can be argued that it is related to their economic policies....

"So-called "corporatism" as practiced by Mussolini and revered by so many intellectuals and policy makers had several key elements: The state comes before the individual....Another keystone of Italian corporatism was the idea that the government's interventions in the economy should not be conducted on an ad hoc basis, but should be "coordinated" by some kind of central planning board....A third defining characteristic of economic fascism is that private property and business ownership are permitted, but are in reality controlled by government through a business-government 'partnership.' As Ayn Rand often noted, however, in such a partnership government is always the senior or dominating partner.'"

To call Bush or Kerry economic fascists is laughable. There is a difference between promoting policies that support business (e.g. Bush's and Kerry's support for guest worker programs and/or amnesty that serve to lower wages) and wanting to have the government exert complete control of business. Imagine Bush or Kerry calling Wal-Mart and telling them to raise their prices 1.3% in their California stores; it strains credibility to believe that either of them want to control business to that level.

Ralph Nader, on the other hand, might be a different story....



Of course, once I said this, I made it a habit in this blog to misuse the term "fascist" every chance I got (along with my two favorite terms, "Communists" and "baby seal clubbers").

However, in this case I'm primarily talking to myself. What happens when a bunch of people are talking together? Often you end up in a situation in which Godwin's Law applies:


As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.


Godwin's Law is related to another term:


The term reductio ad Hitlerum (sometimes rendered reductio ad Hitlerem; whimsical Latin for "reduction to Hitler") was originally coined by University of Chicago professor and ethicist Leo Strauss. The phrase comes from the more well-known logical argument reductio ad absurdum. It is a variety of association fallacy and may also be described as argumentum ad nazium....

The reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy is of the form "Adolf Hitler or the Nazi party supported X; therefore X must be evil". This fallacy is often effective due to the near-instant condemnation of anything to do with Hitler or the Nazis.

The fallacious nature of this argument is best illustrated by identifying X as something that Adolf Hitler or his supporters did promote but which is not considered evil — for example, X = "promoting expressways", X = "wearing khakis", X = "painting watercolors", or X ="eating food". It is important to understand that those policies advocated by Hitler and his party that are generally considered evil, are all condemned by themselves, not because Hitler supported them. In other words: they are not evil because Hitler advocated them, but rather Hitler was evil because he advocated them.



Now it's time to drag the Residents into this:


Hitler was a Vegetarian makes up the second part of the Residents' album The Third Reich 'N' Roll, from 1976. It is a medley of various pop tunes made extremely creepy. Swastikas on Parade makes up the first part of the album.

Hitler Was A Vegetarian (18:27)

Judy In Disguise (With Glasses) originally performed by John Fred & His Playboy Band
96 Tears originally performed by ? And The Mysterians
It's My Party originally performed by Lesley Gore
Light My Fire originally performed by The Doors
Ballad Of The Green Berets originally performed by SGT Barry Sadler
Yummy Yummy Yummy originally performed by Ohio Express
Rock Around The Clock originally performed by Bill Haley & His Comets
Pushing Too Hard originally performed by The Seeds
Good Lovin' originally performed by The (Young) Rascals
Gloria originally performed by Them featuring Van Morrison
In A Gadda Da Vida originally performed by Iron Butterfly
Sunshine Of Your Love originally performed by Cream
Hey Jude originally performed by Beatles
Sympathy For The Devil originally performed by Rolling Stones



But I still had fun calling Annika a fascist. But let me redeem myself by addressing a more serious question - was Mussolini a fascist?


As with Nazi Germany the economic policies of Mussolini are difficult to define. There is a messy tangle between economic theory and economic practice which leads to two opposing views - either Mussolini had an economic plan, or he didn't.

To proponents of the first view, Mussolini did have a clear economic agenda, both long and short-term, from the beginning of his rule. The government had two main objectives - to modernise the economy, and to remedy the country's lack of strategic resources.

To stimulate development Mussolini pushed the modern capitalistic sector in the service of the state, intervening directly as needed to create a collaboration between the industrialists, the workers, and the state....In the short-term the government worked to reform the widely-abused tax system, dispose of inefficient state-owned industry, cut government costs, and introduce tariffs to protect the new industries....

To those arguing that Fascist policy was not clear, the view in the preceding paragraphs is based on a naive acceptance of Italian propaganda. Mussolini knew close to nothing of economics and did not care greatly; he put little pressure on industry and the government efforts were ad hoc, rather than following a clearly defined policy. Indeed, certain historians have argued that Italian fascism was actually a negative force on the Italian economy - holding back genuine modernisation and badly distorting economic development, even before the war.



Sounds like pure communist criticism of the Soviet Union - "Oh, but if you had a REAL fascist state, things would have been better."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(1) comments links to this post

Monday, August 28, 2006

So Johnny Rotten sang "Is this the DNA?" 


On the wire:


Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at the crime scene despite his repeated insistence he killed the 6-year-old beauty queen....

Karr, 41, will be kept in jail in Boulder until he can be sent to Sonoma County, Calif., to face child pornography charges dating to 2001, authorities said.



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

(2) comments links to this post

Friday, August 25, 2006

Assumption A or B? No, assumption C 


I stumbled on a story and didn't know it.

A little over a week ago, I reproduced part of a MySpace profile that I found:


John Mark Karr II

"Bay Area Metal"

Male
15 years old
PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA
United States

Last Login: 8/16/2006



At the time, I figured that the name of this MySpace profile resulted from one of two things:
  • "An unfortunate coincidence." In this case, I assumed that some poor unfortunate guy just happened to have the same name as an alleged killer.

  • "A purposeful choice." In this case, I assumed that some sicko death metal dude decided to adopt the name of an alleged killer for his MySpace profile.

Afterwards, I noticed that Blogpatrol was recording a number of search hits on my blog for the search term "John Mark Karr II," but thought nothing of it.

In addition, I noticed that the profile had been deleted. My internal reaction at the time? "Serves the metal dude right for adopting the name of an alleged killer." (Well, perhaps "alleged" might not have entered my thought processes.)

Boy, was I wrong.

I finally did my own Google search for John Mark Karr II. My blog entry was number 19 on the list, but the ones in front of it were very interesting.

Here's part of a cached version (as of August 22) of a Wikipedia article:


He married Lara Knutson in Alabama on May 19, 1989, when he was 24 and when she was 16 and pregnant. She was carrying twin daughters which were delivered via a home birth on September 1, 1989. The girls, named Angel and Innocence, died later that day. The couple went on to have three boys in close succession: John Mark Karr II was born in 1990....They divorced in 2001 following his arrest for five misdemeanor counts of possession of child pornography in Petaluma, California.


Bad Politics, in a post dated August 17 (GMT), includes this information:


This MySpace profile is of a person 18 who lives in the same city that John did. The profile name is "Stop Sceaming I'm Only Killing You." This profile had a friend named John Mark Karr II, who's profile was here, but is gone. Some of this information disappeared just today.

The John Mark Karr II on MySpace was a member of Sonoma Country Metal group. He left a comment on this profile; "It just kind of depends on my work schedual and other things. Good luck regardless! ^_^ John Mark Karr II". He also left a comment this profile; "hey dude do u wanna chill tonight John Mark Karr II".

More comments here with a pic.
5/28/2006 8:21 PM
guess what you guys need to do.....
Go the Phoenix thats what!!!!
Get your metal ass's over hear!
2/8/2006 6:59 AM
I know about that show. My friend told me about you , (you commented on one of his pictures, we were the ones playing the master of puppets solo) and really want to see you guys! You should playat the pheonix tho, you would love playing there!

More comments here.
7/24/2006 4:20 PM
Kel Mitchel isnt dead, it is an internet hoax

Assuming this John Mark Karr II is about 25 years younger than the one charge, it is highly likely that this is his son.



A commenter at historymike offers the following:


...John Mark II's myspace alias is (or rather, was) "johnthereaper616."

Within minutes of Karr's name being announced on TV, I too located that myspace page with a photo of "John Mark Karr II," then clicked over to John Mark II's page. It pays to move fast; within a couple of hours, that page was taken down. Also, John Mark II's friend photo was removed from the "Stop Sceaming" page.

John Mark II, who described himself as a 15-year-old (making him, chillingly, roughly the same age as JonBenet), featured a picture of himself with an electric guitar. The words "Bay Area Metal" were featured on his page, but any further content was restricted to registered "friends."

If this is indeed the accused murderer's son, imagine the hell that he's in for now, carrying what may become one of the most notorious names in the annals of American crime.

And if indeed he is the accused murderer's son, you'll soon be hearing about him in the mainstream media, as tabloid and non-tabloid reporters alike swarm all over this story.



Ignore all of the pedophila for a moment. This is someone who went through a divorce at about age 11, then ended up living with his mom in suburban northern California. Going to high school in the Sonoma/Marin area, no dad, hanging out, listening to metal. Not seeing dad, who's off traveling somewhere. Divorce can be tough (and if you don't believe it, I can show you the MySpace profile of one teen who's going through a pretty tough time).

Now add some of the circumstances behind the divorce - dad losing his job, accusations that even an 11 year old probably heard about.

Now, to top it all off, dad makes the international news for claiming to commit a horrific crime. And since he shares your name, your MySpace is getting umpteen million hits, including hits from people like me who assume that the name is just a joke.

I jumped to unwarranted conclusions, for which I should apologize.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ship these brainiacs to Pluto 


Oh boy:


BOMBAY, India - The owner of a restaurant named after Adolf Hitler said Thursday he will change its name because it angered so many people.

Puneet Sablok said he would remove Hitler's name and the Nazi swastika from billboards and the menu. He had said the restaurant's name — "Hitler's Cross" — and symbols were only meant to attract attention.



Here comes another one:


VIENNA (Reuters) - A would-be robber was arrested after he tried to hold up his local town hall, mistaking it for a bank, Austrian police said Wednesday.

Wearing a mask and waving a toy pistol, the unemployed man burst into the town hall in the village of Poggersdorf, southern Austria, and shouted: "Hold-up, hold-up!"



But this one is my favorite:


NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman stole $2.3 million (1.2 million pounds) from her employers and spent the money on lottery tickets, buying as much as $6,000 worth of tickets a day in a bid to hit the jackpot, prosecutors said on Thursday.


If she HAD hit the jackpot, would she have used all the money to buy more lottery tickets?

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Clarification, in which I indict the MSM and scientific experts because it's a cool thing to do 


In my previous post on the changing fortunes of Pluto over the last couple of days, someone thought that I was criticizing Jennifer for her Tuesday post about 12 planets. (By Thursday, the planets had been reduced to 8.)

It was not my intent to criticize Jennifer for her Tuesday post, which was based upon knowledge that was available at the time.

ON TUESDAY, ABC News reported the following:


A committee formed by the International Astronomers Union (IAU) has proposed that to be called a planet, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star.

It also must be large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape.

The new definition — the first time the IAU has tried to define scientifically what a planet is — means three new planets will be added to the current nine, and opens the door to dozens more which are seen fitting the description.



Based on that article, Jennifer reported on Tuesday that there were going to be three new planets.

ON THURSDAY, the SETI Institute ran the following with a date/time of August 24, 9:15 AM ET:


On August 16th, a panel convened by the International Astronomical Union in an attempt to vote on the definition of what a planet is. In doing so, they raised the possibility of increasing the number of planets from nine to twelve. Imagine--adding three planets to the solar system with the stroke of a pen. What a thrilling opportunity for science teachers, and for so many reasons. The vote raised a lot of questions and has been followed by a week of controversy. Today, the definition of "planet" may finally be decided.


Note that this article ran this morning, and still trumpeted the possibility of adding three new planets, and didn't say anything about subtracting a planet. Apparently the SETI Institute wasn't keeping up with the latest news, because two days earlier (after Jennifer had written her initial blog post, but well before the SETI article appeared), NewScientistSpace.Com was reporting about draft c:


The crucial change in "draft c" is that a planet must be the dominant body in its orbital zone, clearing out any little neighbours. Pluto does not qualify because its orbit crosses that of the vastly larger Neptune.


So, let's review:
  • ABC reports 12 planets.

  • Jennifer reports 12 planets.

  • NewScientistSpace.Com reports 8 planets.

  • Two days later, SETI reports 12 planets without mentioning 8 planets.

  • Jennifer reports 8 planets.

  • Mass rioting on the streets - whoops, that hasn't happened yet.


And, by the way, it wasn't only ABC News that was trumpeting the twelve planet possibility. Here's what RedOrbit ran on Wednesday:


Though not approved yet, the 76-year-old lineup of the solar system's planets would grow to 12 under a proposal by leading astronomers. Their recommendation will be decided by a vote of the International Astronomical Union on Thursday.


And here's a separate RedOrbit article from Wednesday, written from the Chinese perspective:


Wang Sichao, an expert with the Zijinshan Astronomical Observatory based in Nanjing, capital city of east China's Jiangsu Province, said, "No matter what the result is, the vote is very important. It signifies that over the past few decades, human understanding of the solar system has made a giant leap, smashing the original framework."

Under a draft resolution presented to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), Pluto would remain a planet and its largest moon, Charon, plus two other heavenly bodies would join Earth's solar system as new planets. Textbooks would be rewritten to say the solar system has 12 planets rather than the nine memorized by generations of schoolchildren.

Wang said scientists have based the draft resolution on scientific factors, but have also taken historical and social factors into consideration. But it is a compromise solution, Wang added, that does not really reflect astronomers' all-round understanding of celestial bodies in the solar system.

The other planet candidates, apart from Charon, are 2003 UB313, the farthest-known object in the solar system otherwise known as Xena, and the asteroid Ceres. Pluto risks being demoted to the status of dwarf planet.

Opponents of Pluto, which was named a planet in 1930, might still spoil for a fight. Earth's moon is larger; so is 2003 UB 313 (Xena), about 112 kilometers wider.

But the IAU said Pluto meets its proposed new definition of a planet: any round object larger than 800 kilometers in diameter that orbits the sun.

Roundness is key, experts said, because it indicates an object has enough self-gravity to pull itself into a spherical shape.



All of these articles were written BEFORE the vote was taken place Thursday, but many of them were written after draft c was released. This illustrates how our mind locks on things quickly. Once SETI and the RedNova writers heard the twelve planet stuff on Tuesday, they locked onto that, even though things were changing in Prague.

But I'm still most fascinated by the seamy side of the scientific community. On August 17, well before the final showdown in Prague, the following was written at LiveScience.Com:


What astronomers lack in party skills they make up for in the field of argumentation. They fight about how the asteroid search should be conducted, they argue over what telescopes deserve NASA’s precious funding, and they have the occasional spat about whether an unseen thing around a faraway star is a planet or a brown dwarf.

But mostly they argue about Pluto. Heatedly for seven years now. It’s approaching comical. And I think even they can see the humor in it all. That Pluto was ever termed a planet was a grand error, many astronomers agree. But school children love Pluto, so an equal number of astronomers are loathe to cross them. An even larger number of astronomers, meanwhile, have kept their mouths shut the whole time.

This week’s proposal to finally create a definition for the word “planet” (isn’t that amazing that there has never been one?) has pulled the bystanders out of the bleachers and into the brawl. It’s as if a pitcher in game 7 of the World Series beaned Barry Bonds and there was no crowd control.



The following was also written on August 17:


"I think it's [the pre draft c proposal] a terrible definition," said David Charbonneau, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics...."It is ironic that we are left with more, not fewer objects for which we are uncertain of their 'planetary' status," Charbonneau told SPACE.com. "Perhaps astronomy will undergo a schism, with sects of astronomers proclaiming different numbers of planets."


I suspected that this could divide along grounds similar to religious grounds, with the Church of the 9 Planets, the Church of the 8 Planets, the Church of the 12 Planets, and the Church of No Planets (those pesky Gnostics again).

But of course no such schism would occur, because science produces a reliable result:


Science is not merely a collection of facts, concepts, and useful ideas about nature, or even the systematic investigation of nature, although both are common definitions of science. Science is a method of investigating nature--a way of knowing about nature--that discovers reliable knowledge about it. In other words, science is a method of discovering reliable knowledge about nature. There are other methods of discovering and learning knowledge about nature (these other knowledge methods or systems will be discussed below in contradistinction to science), but science is the only method that results in the acquisition of reliable knowledge.

Reliable knowledge is knowledge that has a high probablility of being true because its veracity has been justified by a reliable method....

What is scientific thinking? At this point, it is customary to discuss questions, observations, data, hypotheses, testing, and theories, which are the formal parts of the scientific method, but these are NOT the most important components of the scientific method. The scientific method is practiced within a context of scientific thinking, and scientific (and critical) thinking is based on three things: using empirical evidence (empiricism), practicing logical reasonsing (rationalism), and possessing a skeptical attitude (skepticism) about presumed knowledge that leads to self-questioning, holding tentative conclusions, and being undogmatic (willingness to change one's beliefs).



Perhaps one could argue that the scientific method is still being practiced, and some future convention will determine that there are 12 or 24 or 2 planets in our solar system. But I couldn't help but hoot when I saw this statement:


Scientists and critical thinkers always use logical reasoning.


Let's engage in some skepticism and self-questioning about THAT statement.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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My Very Educated Mother Is Very Confused 


On Tuesday, Jennifer wrote the following:


For the first time ever, we now have a definition of the word “planet” universally accepted by astronomers:

"A celestial body in orbit around a star while not itself being a star, and large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape."

This definition means that three new planets will be added to the current nine!!!!



Jennifer based this statement on the following article:


A committee formed by the International Astronomers Union (IAU) has proposed that to be called a planet, a celestial body must be in orbit around a star while not itself being a star.

It also must be large enough in mass for its own gravity to pull it into a nearly spherical shape....

Reaction to the proposal, which will be voted on this Thursday by some 2,500 astronomers and scientists, has hit the IAU's annual conference in Prague like a meteor.

"The desire to put everything in neat little boxes is admirable but can be overdone, particularly when the boxes become contorted to include some objects and exclude others. The universe is too complex and too fascinating to fit everything into neatly described categories," said Paul Weissman, an IAU delegate from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the United States.

"Often, the most interesting objects are the ones that refuse to be categorized simply. Anally pursuing such a goal is stamp collecting, not science."



Well, that was Tuesday. Thursday, as I was driving into work, several radio stations were reporting that there are now eight planets, and that Pluto is no longer a planet.

Wha?

Jennifer reports on that, too:


Now, I see that instead of having three new planets, we will actually have one less. The much debated Pluto has been nixed.


Here are some more details, starting with an example of scientist humor:


Although astronomers applauded after the vote, Jocelyn Bell Burnell -- a specialist in neutron stars from Northern Ireland who oversaw the proceedings -- urged those who might be "quite disappointed" to look on the bright side.

"It could be argued that we are creating an umbrella called 'planet' under which the dwarf planets exist," she said, drawing laughter by waving a stuffed Pluto of Walt Disney fame beneath a real umbrella.



Uh oh. The Disney lawyers may get involved in this controversy before it's all over.

Here's what did Pluto in:


Much-maligned Pluto doesn't make the grade under the new rules for a planet: "a celestial body that is in orbit around the sun, has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a ... nearly round shape, and has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit."

Pluto is automatically disqualified because its oblong orbit overlaps with Neptune's.



You may recall a few years ago that Pluto was actually closer to the sun than Neptune for a while. I considered that an eccentricity. The astronomers consider that a major anomaly.

But, with all apologies to Jennifer, when I want to know about all things Pluto, I don't go to Jennifer. I go to the man that Regis Philbin refers to as "The Bean". Needless to say, inasmuch as his blog is named after Clyde Tombaugh, Bean has a lot to say about this topic. And he doesn't disappoint - he was on this story on Wednesday. Underneath a graphic that showed Pluto's orbit, he stated the following:


I'm afraid the news is not good for Plutophiles today.


He links to an article that shows the seamy underside of scientific politics:


Finally, astronomers could be homing in on a definition of the word planet. After a day of public bickering in Prague, followed by negotiations behind closed doors, the latest draft resolution was greeted with a broadly friendly reception....

The crucial change in "draft c" is that a planet must be the dominant body in its orbital zone, clearing out any little neighbours. Pluto does not qualify because its orbit crosses that of the vastly larger Neptune....

[A] supplementary resolution would at least make Pluto the prototype of a class of icy outer worlds beyond Neptune. "The purpose of this is to give a nod to those people who are great Pluto fans," said Owen Gingerich of Harvard University in Massachusetts, US, who is chairman of the committee.

It is not clear what they would be called, however – most early suggestions were rejected by an informal show of hands. Pluton, plutoid, plutonoid and plutid seem to be out of the running, as are "Tombaugh object" and "Tombaugh planet", which had been proposed in honour of Pluto's discoverer, Clyde Tombaugh. "Plutonian object" was the least unpopular choice....

The planet definition committee's first draft definition, released last Wednesday, had admitted Pluto, Ceres and probably dozens more objects to planethood by virtue of being round objects orbiting the Sun....

Then another group of astronomers, many of whom study the dynamics of the solar system, responded on Friday by insisting that a planet must dominate its neighbourhood, which would admit only the eight fully formed planets....

At a fractious lunchtime meeting on Tuesday, the committee's first attempt at a compromise met a hostile response....

"They have presented practically the same resolution as before," said Julio Fernandez of the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay, lead author of Friday's proposal....

He was cut off when he tried to read his proposal aloud. When more questions were prevented, there was a cry of: "If there is democracy, listen to the questions. Let the people speak!"



Let the people speak, indeed. Even though Pluto has been classified as a planet for less than 80 years, that is a lifetime for most of us. Therefore, this falls into the "we've always done it this way" syndrome that makes us resistant to change. And if you doubt me, wait until YOUR denomination comes up with a new hymnal - you'll hear a ton of grumbling.

And there's grumbling about Pluto:

Pluto is no longer a planet and that it never was. Is it easy for you to accept? (I am having a hard time, I love Pluto)

Pluto is no longer a planet? WTF?! My sign, Scorpio, is ruled by Pluto. I love Pluto. And he was a fun Disney character too :)

if jupiter, a big ball of gas, is considered a planet, then why are we all of a sudden hating on pluto. i love pluto. it's the underdog planet. always overshadowed by uranus, but still hanging in there. i have an idea scientists! instead of sitting around deciding what makes a planet a planet, how about making up another useless algebra rule. i know you love doing that. uh.... ok x equals c over b to the third power. see, it's easy and fun. stick to making up equations and leave my galaxy alone.

In other words, you can take the Ten Commandments out of the schools...you can take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance...but you'll have to pry my nine-planet list out of my cold dead fingers. Good to see we have our priorities straight.

P.S. Has an accused murderer ever tried to escape the charges by claiming that the definition of murder as a crime is a violation of his First Amendment rights?

P.P.S. regarding the Pledge. I'm wishy washy on this one. On the one hand, I don't believe that the phrase "under God" establishes a religion because it's so danged vague - "God" can be the Trinitarian God or Brahma or Molech or whoever. On the other hand, I'm not necessarily married to keeping it in because it's so danged vague - "God" can be the Trinitarian God or Brahma or Molech or whoever (which I guess makes the current Pledge of Allegiance an example of syncretism).

P.P.P.S. According to Wikipedia, Clyde Tombaugh was an active Unitarian Universalist. So he probably wouldn't have cared whether the astronomers believed Pluto was a planet. (That's my early morning attempt at religious humor. Go here for the context - see the quote from the Kansas City Star article.)

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I didn't do it 


Wikipedia now links to an entry in this blog. (If I had a Wikipedia account, I'd trouble myself to correct the "empblog" spelling.)

The entry itself has dated information. For the latest information, go to this page at laradio.com and click on the appropriate letter at the bottom of the page. No updated information on Michael "the Maintenance Man" Burton, by the way.

P.S. Richard Blade's real name is Richard Sheppard. Who knew?

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Jeff Pope, and Either One or Two Michael Burtons 


I've been meaning to talk a bit about southern California radio, but haven't gotten around to it until now.

Let's start off with the nice - specifically, a very nice email that I received from Jeff Pope of KGGI. It read, in part:


Let me start off by saying I only found your blogs after a listener of mine asked if I was ever at X 103.9, and when I confirmed, I replied, "Did you used to listen?"

"No, I got bored, did a google search on your name and found you on some guy's blog."

???

After further research, I found the blog....



Pope went on to say some nice things about my writing, but I'm not going to reproduce that because I'm proud of my humility.

I've never met Pope, but I did meet Michael the Maintenance Man (real name Michael Burton) once, back when he worked for KROQ. He was happy, smiling, joking around - all in all, a pretty good guy.

Of course, Burton was not all that happy by the time he left KROQ, having gotten into a dispute with Kevin and Bean regarding his religious beliefs.

IMPORTANT CAVEAT TO THE MATERIAL BELOW - I DO NOT YET KNOW WHETHER THIS "MICHAEL BURTON" IS THE SAME MICHAEL BURTON WHO WAS "MICHAEL THE MAINTENANCE MAN" ON KROQ.

I'll admit that "Michael Burton" is not an unusual name, that Southern California is a very large area, and that there could very well be two African Americans named Michael Burton in the vast territory that is Southern California. Still you have to wonder:


Deputies found three swords and four knives inside a Rancho Cucamonga house where a husband allegedly stabbed his wife to death last month.

One of the swords in the home of Michael and Otilia Burton had a blade measuring more than two feet long and appeared to be stained with blood, according to search warrant documents made public this week. Two of the knives also appeared bloody, according to the documents....

The weapons, which were recovered on the night the woman was killed, appear highly similar to those deputies seized from him during a 911 call to his house last year....

Michael Burton, who worked as a Pasadena firefighter before his arrest, is due to appear in West Valley Superior Court on Tuesday to face murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty, and his attorney has said he believes the man will be proven innocent at a trial.

Prosecutors claim Michael Burton, 45, killed his 35-year-old wife July 16 inside the family's home in the 10300 block of Cartilla Court.

The couple was in the midst of a bitter divorce at the time of her death. In court records, Otilia Burton had said her husband was controlling, manipulative and emotionally and verbally abusive to her and their children.

Police were called to the home by someone who reported Michael Burton was inside and suicidal. Officers were told the couple had been arguing for several days about the woman's extramarital affair.

When they arrived, Burton barricaded himself inside with his wife and two children. A friend of the man, who had been speaking to Burton by telephone, told deputies Burton would allow his two children to come out, but that his wife would not follow them because she was already dead, according to court documents.

Burton eventually released his children through an upstairs window.

Deputies obtained a search warrant to enter the home. Once inside, they say they saw him in the kitchen trying to stab himself. They found Otilia Burton on the floor dead from multiple stab wounds.



I was trying to find something on the past history of firefighter Burton, to see if he had done any janitorial or entertainment work in the past. All that I found was this:


Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian, who knew the 20-year veteran, said that the department never had a problem with him.

"He was an outstanding employee and was always there for others," Derderian said. Burton was an engineer but was on inactive duty since May due to an injury on the job, she said.

"This is absolutely tragic, and the Pasadena Fire Department is assisting both families in whatever their immediate needs are at this time," she said.



So I don't know anything more than I knew previously, but I have a new song stuck in my head: Tone Loc's "Wild Thing."

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Monday, August 21, 2006

What Is Truth? Oemposurvey Results 


On Friday, I posted the following survey question at http://oemperor.blogspot.com/2006/08/oemposurvey-please-participate-in.html as well as at http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=61035679&blogID=157292758:


Do you remember where you were on Christmas Day, 1996? If so, where?


Some of the respondents were able to recall exactly where they were on Christmas Day, 1996, while other weren't sure.

I fall into the latter category. I lived in Upland at the time, but I can't remember whether the 1996 Christmas was spent at home, or if we took a trip to the east coast that Christmas. I can tell you that I went to South Africa in early 1997, that I moved back to Ontario in the spring of 1997, and that I went to Brazil in late 1997, and if I thought harder I could recall some other events from that time, but I cannot honestly remember where I was during Christmas 1996.

Needless to say, you all know why I asked this particular question, about this particular year. Here's part of a CNN article that was posted the day that I authored the survey (emphasis mine):


[John Mark] Karr's brother, Nate, told Atlanta Fox affiliate WAGA that his family will provide information Friday to prove the allegation that Karr killed Ramsey is "just ridiculous."

Karr's ex-wife, Lara Karr, said she also doubted his admission that he killed Ramsey, saying the couple were together in Alabama that entire Christmas season.

Lara Karr filed for a protective order in October 2001 to keep him away from her and their three sons, citing his child pornography arrest that April. In court documents she said that in 1996 -- months before Ramsey was killed -- an Alabama school district dropped Karr as a substitute teacher over concerns he was "too affectionate" with children.

Bravell Johnson -- the school superintendent in Marion County, Alabama -- confirmed Karr's employment as an elementary school teacher in August and September 1996 and that parental complaints led to Karr's dismissal.



But another newspaper says that Lara Karr's divorce petition listed different dates for the Marion County incident:


In the affidavit filed with her divorce petition, Lara Karr said her husband "was told by one school in or about '97 or '98 that he would not be asked to continue to serve as a substitute teacher because he had a tendency to be too affectionate with children."


Perhaps John Mark Karr was ousted from another substitute teaching job, but if Lara thought the Marion County incident took place in 1997 or 1998, how can she be sure that she spent Christmas 1996 with her then-husband? Yet, even if she's wrong, she'll still remain sure:


Once witnesses state facts in a particular way or identify a particular person as the perpetrator, they are unwilling or even unable—due to the reconstruction of their memory—to reconsider their initial understanding. When a witness identifies a person in a line-up, he is likely to identify that same person in later line-ups, even when the person identified is not the perpetrator. Although juries and decision-makers place great reliance on eyewitness identification, they are often unaware of the danger of false memories.


There are implications of this that go far beyond JonBenet Ramsey. But that's a subject for another time and place.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Oemposurvey - Please Participate in Comments Area 


This survey (which is being reproduced elsewhere) is open to all who read this blog, whether you're Blogger users or not. Anonymous comments also accepted.

Please answer the following survey question in the comments area:

Do you remember where you were on Christmas Day, 1996? If so, where?

Some of you have already figured out why I'm asking this question, but play along anyway. After I considered my response (which I'll post later) to the question above, I began wondering about the responses of others.

More later.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

This is what she said. This is what Mary Lacy said. 


From a news conference earlier today.


Statement from Mary Lacy:

Good morning.

As you are now aware, John Mark Karr, 41 years old, was arrested for the murder of JonBenet Ramsey yesterday morning at approximately 6:00 am in Bangkok, Thailand. Mr. Karr was living in Bangkok. He began his employment as a second grade teacher in a Bangkok international school on Tuesday of this week.

Mr. Karr has traveled extensively since leaving the United States several years ago. The District Attorneys’ Office in conjunction with many other law enforcement agencies have spent the past few months locating, identifying and yesterday, arresting Mr. Karr. Much work has been done in those efforts. There is much more work that needs to be done now that the suspect is in custody. Our preference would have been to complete that work out of the public eye. That is obviously not possible this morning.

You all have many questions that you are anxious to have answered. John Karr is presumed innocent. We are rightfully constrained by the code of professional conduct and the presumption of innocence from answering those questions today.

What I can tell you in a generic sense is that in all serious cases, we work hard with law enforcement not to make an arrest until the investigation is substantially complete. That optimal situation best protects the rights of the suspect. There are circumstances that may exist in any case which mandate an arrest before an investigation is complete. The primary reason is public safety. A secondary reason is fear of flight. In short, exigent circumstances can drive the timing of an arrest. I am not commenting on the particular nature of this investigation or arrest.

There is a great deal of speculation and a desire for quick answer. We should all heed the poignant advice John Ramsey gave yesterday. Do not jump to judgment. Do not speculate. Let the justice system take its course.

Let us continue to do our job thoroughly. The analysis of the evidence in this case continues on a day-by-day basis.

What I can and very much want to share with you is a deep appreciation for the hard work, total cooperation and dedication of many individuals and agencies across this country and in Thailand. You can surely imagine the logistical difficulty of conducting an international investigation of this nature, particularly when their day is our night and our night is their day.

Our role in the investigation of JonBenet Ramsey’s murder has been to follow up on all legitimate leads that we have received from law enforcement and concerned citizens. There have been many, particularly around dates of interest such as anniversaries. John and Patsy Ramsey have cooperated fully with each and every request that we have forwarded to them.

I would like to briefly introduce to you my chief investigator Tom Bennett, who continues to lead our investigative efforts. Also my top assistants Peter Maguire and Bill Nagel who have worked closely with Tom and his unit. Each of them join me today in extending our most sincere and heartfelt gratitude to the many individuals and agencies that have assisted us, in particular,

The Royal Thailand Police, Bangkok, Thailand

Department of Special Investigations, Bangkok, Thailand

Chief Edwin Williams and Sgt. Cameron Rowe of the Roswell, Georgia, Police Department

Steve Paganucci of the Atlanta FBI and the Atlanta field office of the FBI

The Atlanta Police Department

The Cobb County Sheriff’s Department

Gary Phillips, SA assigned to the US Embassy with ICE under the EPT of Homeland Security

Ann Hurst, ICE

Taekuk Cho, ICE

Dan Kelly, Special Agent with the FBI in Bangkok

Jeff Copp, Special Agent in Charge, and Tony Rouco, SA, of ICE in Denver, CO

True Rowan with OIA in Washington D.C.

Chris Sonderby with OIA in Bangkok

At every level in Thailand, law enforcement joined forces to provide 24 hour assistance to our investigators here and in Bangkok seven days a week. We are overwhelmed by the selfless dedication and hard work of these individuals and agencies. We cannot adequately express our thanks.

I also wish to thank Chief Mark Beckner of the Boulder Police Department who has offered to provide any and all assistance that we may require as the investigation moves onto home ground. We are grateful for the professional and cooperative relationships that we enjoy with his department at every level and look forward to working together.

And finally, to our man on the ground in Bangkok who has worked tirelessly for us since leaving Denver International Airport for Thailand with little more than four hours notice a week ago Monday……….thank you to District Attorney Investigator Mark Spray, come on home. Tom can use your help here. We need to get you two back in the same time zone.



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False Accusations FROM the Ramseys 


Bean has written about John Mark Karr, and a comment from one of his commenters struck me.


[W]e really owe Mrs. Ramsey an apology for living with the loss of her daughter and then dying at only 49 with her name still smeared.


However, while I'll acknowledge that the Ramseys' names were smeared, don't forget that they also did some smearing of their own.

Now that John Mark Karr has apparently confessed to the crime, maybe it's worthwhile to see who the Ramseys falsely accused:


Chris Wolf, Boulder journalist

Chris Wolf, a freelance journalist, sued the Ramseys in 2000 claiming that he'd been libeled by the Ramseys' book, "The Death of Innocence." He was included in the book among those the Ramsey's considered suspects in their daughter's murder.



And here's another one:


Bill McReynolds, former journalism professor

Bill McReynolds, a former University of Colorado journalism professor, portrayed Santa Claus at the Ramseys' home in 1996, two nights before the 6-year-old was found slain.

Authorities collected hair and handwriting samples from McReynolds and his wife, Janet, in the first few months following the murder, but police sources said they did not consider the McReynolds serious suspects. The Ramseys, however, called McReynolds a suspect in their book.



Before partisans of John and Patsy Ramsey say that Bill should feel better knowing that the truth is out, consider this:


The couple moved to Mashpee, Mass., in 1998. Bill McReynolds died there at 72 in 2002.


At least Patsy Ramsey knew that a suspect had been located. When he died, Bill McReynolds knew that some people still blamed him for the murder. The Ramseys' false accusation scarred him:


Janet McReynolds said...that her husband's involvement in the infamous case was "the greatest trial of his life."

"He was scarred. He was just so devastated by the mere idea anyone would suspect him of a crime," she said....

"He loved being Santa, he loved little children, and then the Ramsey case destroyed that career and just devastated him. He loved that little girl. It was a very sad thing in his life because he genuinely loved children, and it was the happiest part of his life."

McReynolds' big heart made him a popular instructor, said Doug Cosper, who taught with him at CU.

"Some of his students kept relationships with him their entire lives," Cosper said.

"When the Ramsey story happened, he was hurt very badly, and that's why they had to leave Colorado," he said. "They felt they couldn't live here anymore."

When the couple moved to the small town on Cape Cod in 1998, McReynolds left his role of Santa Claus, his wife said. Instead, the grandfather of six filled his time helping the elderly at the local senior center.

"He made a new start. He was beloved by many people here," said Janet McReynolds. "Of course, he would never get over what happened to him. He would never fully recover from that kind of suspicion."



But there were others whom the Ramseys falsely accused:


For their part, the Ramseys have continued their sophisticated, and expensive, public relations campaign, including publishing a book, The Death of Innocence, (that exonerates them and their son, Burke, while advancing various speculations regarding the killer or killers)...and staging various interviews and news conferences in their on-going parry with Boulder authorities. The Ramseys were quite liberal in naming possible suspects, mentioning dozens of close friends, former business colleagues, a trusted household worker and even the man who played Santa Claus at Ramsey Christmas parties for the last three years of JonBenét's life. Santa's wife was also hotly advanced by the Ramseys as the mastermind behind the murder.


John Ramsey has some apologizing to do.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

If the MySpace Adolf Hitlers depress you... 


...check this out.


Pucca, singing, eating, dancing, writing, acting, love songs, lyrics, Hollywood gossip, reading, web-designing, blogging, dogs and cats, babies, shopping, loud laughter, spontaneity, total sweetness, daydreaming, carebears, what we know as love, moons and stars, nature trips, the beach, cheerleading, performing on stage, teatro, plays, kisses, hugs, cuddles, peace sign, smiles, small things to treasure, maltese puppies, flowers, natural scents, caresses, stuff toys, baby talk, pizzaymada, massages at Palm garden(THE BEST), foot spas in Nature's Way, having my hand and hair played in my definition, soft sandals, 3-4inches, poems, silly phrases.. loving you.:)


Much more peaceful.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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I guess that's why they call it death metal? 


An unfortunate coincidence, or a purposeful choice? We report, you decide:


John Mark Karr II

"Bay Area Metal"

Male
15 years old
PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA
United States

Last Login: 8/16/2006



But there are 137 Adolf Hitlers on MySpace, including one who can't even spell "Mein Kampf".

Feel the love.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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More on John Mark Karr 


HistoryMike links to this press release:


Press Release: JonBenet Ramsey Homicide
Mary Lacy, Boulder District Attorney confirms that there has been an arrest in Bangkok, Thailand for the December 26, 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey. The suspect was arrested on August 16, 2006 following several months of a focused and complex investigation. John and Patsy Ramsey both were consulted during the course of the investigation. The Ramsey family has been notified of the arrest.

The District Attorney’s Office has scheduled a news conference at 10 am Thursday, August 17, 2006 at the Justice Center, 6th and Canyon Blvd., Boulder, Colorado. The location of the news conference will be outdoors in the southwest corner of the public parking lot across the street from the Justice Center. Parking at the site is limited and members of the media are encouraged to prioritize the vehicles at this location.

In order to disseminate information that may be ethically released and handle inquiries from the media, we are providing a media request number: 303-441-3842. Information will be disseminated on a regular basis by means of a listserv. If you would like to receive press releases, please sign up at the bottom of the Boulder District Attorney's home page at www.co.boulder.co.us/da. No additional interviews will be provided. We will provide the public with accurate information as early as possible under our legal and ethical restrictions.



However, as noted previously, the information on the suspect's name has already been disseminated.

Karr was caught via DNA:


He had been arrested in Bangkok Thailand on unrelated sex charges which gave law enforcement the opportunity to take a DNA sample. When the DNA matched, John Karr cofessed to the murder.

Sources say John Mark Karr had been emailing Patsy Ramsey with provocative and taunting details of the crime....

Sources say John Mark Karr had no remorse as he was confessing to the crime. On the contrary, he appeared to take a lot of pride in what he has done. Not an unremarkable attitude for a murdering, child sex offender.



So, what celebrity lawyer will try to establish Karr's innocence?

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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I still think kiddie beauty pageants are sick, but John Mark Karr is sicker 


But the Ramsey family is apparently off the hook:


A former schoolteacher was arrested Wednesday in Thailand in the slaying of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey — a surprise breakthrough in a lurid, decade-old murder mystery that had cast a cloud of suspicion over her own parents.

Federal officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the suspect as John Mark Karr, a 42-year-old American, and one law enforcement official told The Associated Press that Boulder police had tracked him down online.

The Ramsey family's attorney in Atlanta pronounced the arrest vindication for JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey. Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer on June 24....

The attorney said the Ramseys learned about the suspect a least a month before Patsy Ramsey's death. "It's been a very long 10 years, and I'm just sorry Patsy isn't here for me to hug her neck," Wood said.

Karr was a teacher who once lived in Conyers, Ga., according to Wood. The attorney said the Ramseys gave police information about Karr before he was identified as a suspect.

Wood would not say how the Ramseys knew Karr. But JonBenet was born in Atlanta in 1990, and the Ramseys lived in the Atlanta suburb of Dunwoody for several years before moving to Colorado in 1991.

A source close to the investigation said Karr confessed to elements of the crime. Also, a law enforcement source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the AP that Karr had been communicating periodically with somebody in Boulder who had been following the case and cooperating with law enforcement officials....

Karr was being held in Bangkok on unrelated sex charges, authorities said. CBS reported he will be brought back to the United States this weekend.



It's also interesting to note that the media is already following Official Media Standard Practice in referring to murder suspects. The suspect is not John Karr, but John Mark Karr. I guess "all killers have middle names" is embedded in the AP style guide.

And I still think that kiddie beauty pageants are sick. But if you want to dress your child up like a "little lady" (with makeup and all), go here or here or here.

Someone created a poll on this topic:


4 year old children are dressed up and displayed to look like an adult, with make-up and suggestive poses.

THIS QUESTION IS NOT ABOUT YOU. ITS ABOUT WHAT YOU FEEL IS TRUE WITH THE AVERAGE MALE.

The question: Do you believe that children dressed up and posing like this in these pageants gives the AVERAGE MALE 'impure' thoughts about these very young girls?



IMHO, I believe the answer is No.

[UPDATE HERE.]

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Book Meme 


I was tagged by Jennifer. To be fair, I did not include the Bible in my answers below (although it would be a valid answer to 1, 2, 4, and 8).

1. One book that changed your life.

The Insider's Guide to Colleges, late 1970s edition. This book's description of Reed College appealed to me, and I ended up on the West Coast, and things haven't been the same since.

2. One book you've read more than once.

Dave Barry Slept Here: A Sort of History of the United States

3. One book you would want on a desert island.

The first one that popped into my mind was Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons. However, that probably wouldn't help me on a desert island.

4. One book that made you laugh.

The part in Gerald Ford's A Time to Heal that involved a sheep in a hotel room. And no, I'm not kidding.


Jim Naughton of the New York Times is credited with masterminding the "Peoria sheep caper." Encamped in that town after Ford addressed a group of farmers, Naughton persuaded one of the locals to lend him a sheep. Hours later, Newsweek's Tom DeFrank, an alumnus of Texas A. & M. University, discovered the animal in his hotel room. He was greatly surprised. So was the sheep, and DeFrank spent much of the night cleaning up the mess.


Ford's autobiography also notes that Ford saw DeFrank the next morning and simply asked, "How's your friend?"

5. One book that made you cry.

If a book is going to make me cry, I avoid it.

6. One book that you wish had been written.

A View From the World Trade Center, 2005 edition

7. One book you wish had never been written.

I don't know about this one. I could say something like Mein Kampf, but human nature would result in someone else writing a similar book.

8. One book you are currently reading.

The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, a gift from our former Finnish exchange student.

9. One book you have been meaning to read.

The Quran from cover to cover.

10. Five people I tag to do this meme:

The first five people (not counting Jennifer) who read this.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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Eating in the middle of LAX 


Doing some research, in case I spend a very long day at LAX this Saturday.


The Encounter restaurant is situated within the famous Theme Building located at the center of the Los Angeles International Airport.

209 World Way
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Telephone Number:
310-215-5151 for reservations and general information...

Encounter's hours are: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (last dinner hour); Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (last dinner hour). The Bar closes nightly at 10:00 p.m. It is located at 209 World Way at LAX. To get there, be sure to enter at the airport lower level (arrivals) and proceed past the third signal until you see the Encounter signage. Valet parking is available. For more information and reservations, call 310-215-5151.



Here's some more background:


At the center of Los Angeles International Airport stands the landmark Theme Building which is home to the spectacular Encounter Restaurant and Bar. With 135-foot high parabolic arches and a futuristic design, the structure is certainly unique and has become one of the most recognizable buildings in the U.S.

The building is surrounded by lush gardens, including a courtyard with plaques commemorating the opening of the new jet-age airport in 1961 and LAX's first employee in 1928, Henry Bakes. The Theme Building was completed in August 1961 at a cost of $2.2 million; and the Encounter Restaurant, with its space-age interior and spectacular exterior lighting, opened in January 1997, serving fantastic cuisine and offering 360 degree views of the airport....

Everything (Else) You Ever Wanted to Know About the Encounter:

Q: Who designed the Encounter?
A: The interior of the restaurant was designed by Ed Sotto and Ellen Guevara for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI). WDI designer Michael Valentino created the interior of the building and exterior lighting program. (WDI is the master planning, creative development, design, engineering, production management, and research and development subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company.)

Q: What is the building's history?
A: The Theme Building was part of an overall $50-million "Los Angeles Jet Age Terminal Construction" project, which began in 1960. The building itself was completed in August 1961 at a cost of $2.2 million. On December 18, 1992, the Los Angeles City Council designated the Theme Building a City Cultural and Historical Monument.

Q: Who is the architect?
A: The original construction of the Theme Building was a joint venture between Paul R. Williams, Pereira & Luckman, and Robert Herrick Carter; and the general contractor was Robert E. McKee.

Q: How is the building constructed?
A: With giant 135-foot-high parabolic arches, the Theme Building was the first structure in the U.S. to utilize supporting steel arches of this design. Approximatetly 900 tons of structural steel was required for the building. Steel fabrication of the building was performed by Kaiser Steel's Montebello Fabricating Division. Fabricated sections include four upper arch sections, four lower sections, four horizontal legs, and tension and compression rings.

Q: Does the restaurant or bar rotate?
A: No, the airport does (just kidding!). Seriously, no it doesn't rotate; but this is a good thing, as patrons frequently like to keep an eye on the comings and goings of their airline. This could get quite confusing as your view changed from one terminal to another.

Q: Is there an outside "Observation Deck"?
A: Actually, there is. But, unfortunately it has been closed to the public since September 2001 by airport officials for security reasons.

Q: Who manages the Encounter?
A: The restaurant was created and is operated by a joint-venture partnership between CA One Services, Inc. and Connie Bass, a Los Angeles entrepreneur and operator of the Ultimate Symphony Event Planners, a full-service event planning and gourmet catering service. CA One provides food, beverage and retail operation in more than 30 U.S. airports. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Delaware North Companies, Incorporated, which is based in Buffalo, N.Y.

Q: Is it expensive to dine at the Encounter?
A: No. The Encounter offers a variety of dishes, including our Bar Menu & Full Dinner Menu, with prices ranging from $6. and up (and don't forget Happy Hour discounts!). And Chef Bennett has introduced a new Prix Fixe Menu, with a special three-course selection at only $33.

Q: Do I need a reservation?
A: Absolutely not. But we do like to recommend that you make a resvervation if time permits.

Q: Must I pass through Airport Security to dine or have cocktails at the Encounter?
A: No. The Encounter is not within a screened security area of LAX.

Q: Where do I park when visiting the Encounter?
A: The restaurant offers "Valet Parking" for $6. Just pull up to the building entrance and our valet will park your vehicle in our adjacent "Valet Only" parking lot. You may also self-park in one of the parking structures within the airport's Central Terminal Area. But as rates at CTA lots have risen (anything over an hour is at least $5.), and metered parking has become scarce, why bother?... let us make it easy for you!



From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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