Friday, January 07, 2005

What’s wrong with this picture?

Then this: talk about ‘ripped from the headlines.’ Andrea Yates' conviction was overturned on a mistaken recollection from Park Dietz about a Law and Order episode that never was. I’m glad Yates may be getting a new trial. I just read this from way back when she was convicted and had no idea of the stringency of the Texas insanity defense.
What I don’t understand about Texas law is how they get away with the "sudden passion" defense yet have this impossibly narrow insanity definition?

Here is how Texas murder law is spelled out:
Homicide is unlawfully causing the death of an individual. There are four types of homicide: murder, capital murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. Most forms of homicide are felonies.
Murder is causing the death of an individual under any of the following circumstances:
By intentionally or knowingly causing the death
By intending to cause serious bodily injury and committing an act that clearly endangers human life
While committing a felony and committing an act that clearly endangers human life
While fleeing from committing a felony and committing an act that clearly endangers human life

Murder is divided into subcategories by degree of seriousness. If the defendant commits any of the above acts, he or she will be charged with murder. At the sentencing stage of the trial, if the defendant is able to prove he or she committed the murder while immediately influenced by sudden passion, and that the passion arose from an adequate cause, the defendant will be sentenced for murder of the second degree [emphasis added].

I’m now wondering how they define “adequate cause” and if hearing the voice of god tell you to kill your children qualifies. I found a definition of "brief reactive psychosis," and I am wondering if this is what they have in mind.

If there is a second trial, I would love to see more responsibility placed on the husband (it was clear that Yates was at the very least suffereing from severe post partum depression. Hello? Birth control?) After her fourth child, Luke, was born in 97, her doctor at the time, Dr. Starbranch, advised both Rusty and Andrea not to have any more kids. In March of 2000 Rusty convinced her to become pregnant again. Read more here>.
Then there's the psychiatrist Yates saw when she returned to the hospital just after her father died later in March of that year, Dr. Mohammed Saeed, who told Yates, on her last visit to him before she killed her children, to “think positive thoughts.” Help me, Rhonda. This guy needs to be punished for making such a stupid and useless statement to someone who is clearly was very ill and possibly psychotic.

There's more detailed discussion of this here and here at "Off the Kuff." Also read this interesting observation from Kuffner's archives about Dietz's testimony at Deanna Laney's trial earlier this year. Good stuff.

How on earth did I miss this? Pretty funny that it was initiated just a week before J8L's "double-dip" quoting of Amanda Tree two days in a row.
I heard back from Daniel Orkent's office (the email came at 12:25am, they work late!) saying that a few other parties had also submitted this to the Ombudsman, and that I should check back in a few days after DO's column was written. Does this mean he is going to address it, or not?

MTA Photography Ban

on the subway today
Originally uploaded by _Ingrid_.
The comments period on the proposed MTA subway photography ban ends tomorrow. Here are some helpful links if you want to make your opinmions known:

I like the idea of a huge number of people going down to the MTA and applying for permits, if and when this is finalized.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Kudos to Gawker for their interview with Amanda Tree!

So yesterday I heard back from a representative of the DAR. Apparently I have to choose a chapter first, then the real process begins (which seems a bit backwards to me, but oh well). Since I have a relative/ancestor listed in the DAR Patriot Index, hopefully there is paperwork already in place (from some other member of the family who's already done all the research!) so I can skip over the hard parts, which is proving lineal descent from one George Spangler.

It ain't over till the Gray Lady Sings!

Yesterday Editor and Publisher ran an article about none other than Jennifer 8 and her man in the street, Amanda Tree. I love how the Times continues to defend this ‘decision:’
Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis had told E&P: "She asked her editor if it was proper to quote [Tree] in both stories, and they said yes[emphasis added]." Mathis also said editors determined Tree "was genuine" but did not say how.
Perhaps they hit the Tomato Records web site, which alternately refers to Amanda as Tree and Trees-with-an-ess.
And isn’t it curious how Lee again says she “sought approval from editors (she would not name them) for the double-dip.” If they are so gung ho behind this decision, then why not name them? Why don't they stand up for what they publish?

Strupp says within hours of the second story's appearance in the Times, the mistake, er, 'decision' was an item in no less than the WSJ. Yes, that was me. I also tipped off Gawker, who is running with the story, though they may have had their own astute sources (they're so smart and observant over there). Still, I’m proud to have caused Ms. Lee some discomfort and hope that it teaches her to be more careful in the future (though with the volume of people sending me excerpts from her postings to her Harvard alumni yahoo group trawling for story ideas to print in the Times, this ain't over). And, yes, I am also proud to have wiped the smug, conceited smile (yes I flatter myself, but it is my blog) off the face of the old gray lady at least temporarily. The arrogance! To think that in the wake of Jayson Blair they could pull something like this (something that seems so minor, but as Amber Frey says “even a tiny lie leads to mistrust.”) and 1) no one would notice, and 2) no one would dare to question it, shows that they are still walking around in a self –induced stupor of hubris.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Committed: Ross and Phoebe with Tom Posten in a closet.

You say Tomato and I say Amanda Tree(s)

There seems to be no end to the people out there in blogland who’ve got it in for Ms. Jenny 8.

I’ve been contacted by someone who went to high school with her, someone who served on the Harvard Crimson with her, and countless others who just don’t like her (read the comments here> ) because she is: 1) chunky (the Sun said ‘maternal’ whatev …) and 2) that middle ‘name.’

Yesterday in BOTWT, James Taranto cited [scroll down to "It's the Numonymy, stupid") the Wikipedia entry for Jenny 8 (she’s got a Wikipedia entry, what is up with that? How much you want to bet she or someone who knows her from Harvard wrote it?) which restates the fabled account of how her parents and she decided on it to 1) spice up her name, and 2)bring good luck. Now, one of you, dear readers, claims that it was not adopted at middle school age, for either of those reasons, but instead given to her by a computer at Harvard which makes the most sense to me. [Update: I've just heard from someone who went to middle school with Jenny 8 who disputes this version. Make up your mind people!]

Now on to Amanda Tree. I did find a headshot for Amanda, but I am now not sure if it is Amanda Tree or TreeS. Go to Tomato Records (warning: website is scary bad!) click on 'Archive' which once you get there is spelled 'arcive.' Then click on The Amanda TreeS Story which once you click on it says Amanda Trees and then written twice just above that is says Amanda Tree-no-ess. WTF? Anyhoo, there is Amanda in a sailor-suit-like-top and a sailor cap and has a parrot on her shoulder. She was featured on a compilation disc on Tomato with one song called "Treasure Island." OK. We're working a theme. This is good.
The other song she contributed was "I'll find your beat." Of this song she says, and I quote, "this also is a true story of urban life and yearning for connection to kindred souls via the regular paths we find ourselves on, like dog-walking and all."

The same blurb says that Amanda played a lead in the CBS soap opera Love of Life for a few years. Searches on both TV Tome (my bible when it comes to TV, it has settled many a bet) and IMDB did not list her name in the credits. She's not even listed under the "rest of cast listed alphabetically" heading where they put the people that only appeared once or twice. Even Ian Ziering who must have played a child (unless it is a mistake, as Ian also appeared in Guiding Light and The Doctors ) is listed in with the actors.

A search on “Amanda Tree” on the imdb site came up with someone named Amanda TreeS who played a paparazzi reporter (oh the irony) in "Batman Forever" aka "Batman 3" or just "Forever." Alas no picture here, not even the one in the sailor suit. I've emailed Tomato Records inquiring what Ms. Tree or Trees is up to lately, and whether it is Tree or Trees with an ess.

This is all very confusing, don't you think?

Crackpot Corrections II

It only took the Times three days to correct the middle school mistake that appeared here> and since I had ‘lucky 8’ in the pool, I lose.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Crackpot Corrections

In a Times article on the blogoshpere reaction to the tsunami disaster, they note that the info-spreading-relief-coordination being done by bloggers in the wake of the disaster was short lived, giving way to “crackpot theorizing and political smack down.” Gothamist thinks it's on.
I think it’s been on.

On the self-correcting aspect of blogging, this quote: "One result is a process that can be more reliable than many new media, where corrections are often late and small, if they appear at all."

What about corrections in old media, like newspapers. Like the Times for instance. Care to get a pool going on how long it is going to take the Times to own up to this error? See my post here> if you are too lazy to plow through the chart looking for the two incorrect dates.

PS If the pool is going to be a choice of the number of days it takes them to print a correction, I pick '8' cause I heard it is lucky.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Flash! Amanda Tree has nothing to do with Freak Museum closing!

In this article from yesterday's Times, Ms. Lee does not quote Amanda Tree.
Not once. I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself wondering what Amanda Tree thinks of the Freak Museum.

Perhaps this was the intent of Jennifer 8, who, in a slanted-so-badly-it-could-hardly-stay-horizontal-on-the-page "puff" piece in the NYSun earlier this, whoops, early last year, was characterized as someone who "creates connections for people who aren't connected yet." AH, now I get it! Jennifer 8 is hoping to create a buzz for A. Tree by slipping her name in front of the public as often as possible, a la SNL's Mr. Subliminal.

From that same Sun article aka desparate-plea-for-an-invite-to-a-real-live-Washington-party-from-fellow-Harvard-alumna, this gem just shines so brightly it makes my eyes tear up:
"About a year later, in the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, she spearheaded a letter of recommendations, ultimately signed by herself and 18 other staffers, to a committee that was set up to investigate how Mr. Blair got away with making up stories. Ms. Lee, who was posted in Washington, sent out as many as three drafts a day. "
This is so confusing, someone help me out here: what exactly did she do? She emailed drafts of a letter of recommendation to the committee with 18 signatures on it ... saying what? Was she defending the shoddy editorial skills of the people involved, hoping one day that she too, could nap, er, work under the same half-closed eyes, getting away with the the half-assed reporting that the Times is now famous for?

Someone, please, 'splain me.
Then find out what Amanda Tree thinks of all this.

While the UN sets up camp ...

We're doing the work>

The "No Shit" File

Quote from today's Times>
"- A tsunami warning system that could have saved thousands of lives this week should be in place in South Asia and Southeast Asia within a year, the United Nations said Wednesday."
Do you think? Who are these forward thinkers at the UN that have stuck their necks out to suggest this? What a concept!

Then, from the same article, this:
"the subject would now become a principal concern at a United Nations conference on disaster reduction scheduled for Jan. 18-22 in Kobe, Japan."
They're now spending money for a conference on disaster reduction?

What about reducing the disaster that is now the UN?

For more on the UN disastrous disaster relief "efforts" see Diplomad, including this quote from Mr. Egelund, aka Jan McGimme: "we will have to set up a camp for relief workers – 90 of them – which is fully self-contained, with kitchen, food, lodging, everything, because they have nowhere to stay and we don't want them to be an additional burden on the people there."
Meanwhile ...

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