Thursday, August 28, 2014

Who's the Real Killer?.......and Does It Matter?

Here we go again. America's vaunted criminal justice system has two convicted felons, neither of whom will ever be free to transgress in public again, both claiming to have been the murderer of a gay Richmond antiques dealer. And they're not the only claimants. According to this story in the Times-Dispatch a death row inmate in Florida maintains that he, not an Iowa inmate that pleaded no contest to the murder charge, is the real killer of Henry Weatherford, Jr. in 1994.

The case against Lonnie Ray Wiseman in Weatherford's murder is based on the newest form of disputable evidence, DNA testing. Tissue samples of arrested individuals are routinely taken, their DNA profiled and then matched against a database of DNA gathered at crime scenes. Wiseman was tied to the murder on the basis of DNA samples gathered from Weatherford's car and then sentenced last month.

Like its pseudo-scientific predecessors fingerprinting and lie detectors, DNA matching, which can't be explained by the cops that take the samples, the prosecutors that introduce it as evidence, the judges that admit it or the juries that convict on its basis, has become accepted with zero public understanding purely because of supposed scientific validity. People go for it based on technology that's understood by only a small number of so-called experts. We see the same phenomenon with the computer-generated models used to explain climate change and economic events. Not surprisingly, the people that perform the tests and modelling are sometimes found to have falsified the results for various reasons. 

"Cold cases", unsolved crimes that date back decades, are apparently what cops investigate when they run out of doughnuts. Both of these guys are career criminals that have been in jail for years but somehow it's important to tag at least one of them with the responsibility for a an event that occurred when Mrs. Bill Clinton was still a housewife and a first-class stamp cost 29 cents. Changing the name of the killer will make a big improvement in American life.

Here's another example. This guy is on Arizona's death row but there's a possibility Utah might extradite him to stand trial for another murder.

Best of all, DNA evidence has identified the notorious "Jack the Ripper", who terrorized the ladies of the evening in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888, as the Daily Mail can now reveal.

Unfortunately, studies have determined that DNA testing doesn't necessarily produce a positive match.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

More Cops Using State Computers To Check Out Babes

After communities in the area surrounding St. Paul, MN dished out thousands of dollars to settle potential claims by a lady ex-cop that had been the object of extensive and illegal computer searches by law enforcement professionals you might think that policies would be implemented to prevent this behavior. You would be wrong.  Cops in the suburban Sacramento town of Fairfield, CA have been using the state law enforcement database to screen potential dates, according to this story.

This is a felony but we'll see, after the dust settles, if anyone with a badge is censured. While the skirt chasing aspect of this affair is reprehensible as well as illegal, the access to computer databases by cops with motives other than sexual gratification is really scarier yet. Debts to bookies and others, love triangles, family disputes, the occasions for abuse are many and varied. There's no reason why we should trust these professional sociopaths with information forbidden to others.

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Butcher Baker" Serial Killer Serves Only 30 Years of 461 Year Sentence

The Fairbanks News-Miner informs us of the death of serial killer Robert Hansen, incarcerated since 1984 after being convicted of the murders of four women after confessing to killing seventeen. The leading news source for interior Alaska points out that the four convictions "spared" Hansen going to trial a total of seventeen times. Certainly the prosecutors and state-appointed defense attorneys would have loved to proceed with another 13 slam dunk trials but how it could have made any difference to Hansen himself is a mystery. The "Butcher Baker" was sentenced to a term of 461 years in prison so theoretically he should occupy a cell in Seward for another 431 years, regardless of whether he is breathing or not.

Robert Hansen's world record sheep

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Little Liz, dwarf Haitian woman evicted from the Boulder County Fair

According to this article in the Longmont Times-Call two complaints to county commissioners resulted in the closure of a carnival side show feature that included Little Liz, reputedly the shortest woman in the world at 29 inches in vertical displacement. It was all about the "ick factor", which should make Liz feel good. In an ostensibly free country it seems odd that a group of elected officials could terminate the employment of someone who is breaking no known law.

The World’s Smallest Woman exhibit at the Boulder County Fair was closed after complaints from fairgoers. The Times-Call article includes the names of almost all of the pertinent characters involved in this deplorable incident, Little Liz, the commissioners, the carnival owner, etc. But, as usual, we don't learn the names of those offended enough by the sight of Little Liz to complain to the authorities and compromise her livelihood. Such is the state of affairs in the land of the free and the home of the anonymous.

 Another aspect of the coverage of this affair is the comment by one of the officials involved: "The disadvantage to this is now the woman is out of work and unable to pay any medical or living expenses for those three days," said fair coordinator Laura Boldt." Boldt's statement would seem to imply that Little Liz, or perhaps anyone else, pays continuously for medical expenses. It's doubtful that the diminutive attraction makes a daily payment for medical insurance or visits a doctor daily. This is reflective of this society's obsession with not health per se, but its financial relationship with the health industry. It may be possible that Little Liz could be struck by lightning as she poses for photos by the rubes of Longmont and incur large medical costs but the risk seems smaller than her.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Marianne Vos Wins Sparkassen Giro in Bochum, Germany

Fresh off her victory on the Champs Elysee last weekend, World and Olympic  Champion Marianne Vos won the sprint to the line after 124 kms of racing through the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Bochum.  The Rabo-Liv leader beat two-time world champ Italian Giorgia Bronzini and Finnish national champion Lotta Lepisto came in third. Everyone is familiar with superstar Vos and sprint queen Bronzini. Here is Bigla rider Lepisto: