Clareified

Those days are gone forever; I should just let 'em go but…

Archive for January, 2005

24

Monday, January 31st, 2005 by Dawn Summers


24

Today everyone looks pink! Equal opportunity bad makeup, hooray.
I had a post about how lackluster this season was and how the ugliness of the cast makes it really hard for me to care about what happens to them.
I was going to say how I think the character of Heller was dreadfully miscast, the man’s voice is too pitchy and he looks too rolly-pollyish (I debated the hyphen on that) for me to take him seriously as the secretary of defense.
Maybe I would have thrown in a few jabs at Paul and his pathetic attempt to win his wife away from the man who just saved her life with his skillful knife throwing.
Ooh and I might have noted that if you ever hear Jack say the words “I will call for help, just tell me everything I need to know first,” you should spit in his eye and say “that will go with me to the grave, Bauer” (wheezing and sputtering as much as your bullet wound requires, of course.)
But I forgot all that after the final three minutes.
WOOO HOOOO.
And it’s not just cause he’s hot.
I won’t ruin it for those of you waiting to see it. But WOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Ok, I’m going to post my spoiler filled chanting in the comment section now, so don’t go look if you don’t wanna know.

DOES THE ARMBAND HOLD HIS ARM TOGETHER?

Monday, January 31st, 2005 by Dawn Summers

DOES THE ARMBAND HOLD HIS ARM TOGETHER?

RANDOM THOUGHT #47,899

Monday, January 31st, 2005 by Dawn Summers

RANDOM THOUGHT #47,899

Have you ever driven to a stop under a bridge, looked around, and thought: ‘hey, this is where the trolls should be?’

On Life and Death

Monday, January 31st, 2005 by Dawn Summers

On Life and Death
I’ve shaken the hand of an inmate on death row.
Like most of the people on death row, he was poor, uneducated and his victim was white.
He had killed a college student, a few years older than himself, during an ill-conceived carjacking after an even worse conceived armed robbery of a convenience store.
At the time, he was high.
And drunk.
Needless to say, he and the three other guys were arrested minutes later by police. He was the oldest of the four and despite persuasive evidence that he had significant mental deficiencies and likely wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger, the police decided he was the ring leader and he was charged with capital murder, convicted and sentenced to death in less than four months.
When I met him during my third year of law school, he had been on death row for five or six years.
His was the third death penalty appeal I had worked on, but he would be the first (and only) defendant I actually got to meet.
The Supreme Court had overturned his original conviction, and we were in trial court for a pre-trial hearing for the retrial.
My first dose of Southern hospitality was when the D.A. objected to our pro hac vice motion because “one New York lawyer was enough to defend a murderer in a waste of time retrial.”
The judge overruled that objection but cautioned us all to remember that his was “not a New York court.”
I was seated in the courtroom galley, so I didn’t meet our client until later.
I was nervous.
Scouring trial transcripts for mistakes and researchng nuances of constitutional law was one thing (well, ok, two things) but being locked in a room with a convict was an entirely different matter. Sure, there were four other members of our team and two armed guards with me, but still.
I lingered outside with the first year associate on the case until the partner called us in.
“After you,” I said hanging back.
But when I finally went in, there were so many people there that I couldn’t see him anywhere. Then, I caught a glint of sunlight reflected off a shiny object.
I peered through the people and saw handcuffs, attached to a chain around his waist, attached to another chain attached to shackles around his ankles.
He sparkled all over with silver and sunlight.
The most startling thing about him was that he was white.
I don’t know why, but for the six weeks I had been on the case, I pictured a black guy in my head.
He was very skinny, and tall, but with the tug of the ankle chains pulling down from his waist, he was in a bent posture the entire time.
The partner introduced me.
“Bennie, this is Dawn. She’s a law student.”
“Nice to meet you, miss” he practically whispered as he held out his handcuffed hands to me.
I leaned in and took the left one in my own.
His hand was soft, but extremely cold.
“I hope you can learn something good for school from all this,” he said quietly. I smiled nervously and stepped away from him.
How had he come to this? We were practically the same age (although I have gotten younger since then, so now he’s quite a bit older than I am) and yet the great state of Virginia was set to execute him.
Two of my other death penalty cases also involved teenagers convicted of killing white people. The murder charges were dropped in one case and the other has been appealed and awaits a decision.
It’s a sad thing that the United States has led the world in so many ways, yet lags behind with the likes of Cuba, Rwanda and Iran on the issue of state sanctioned killing.
One can only hope that the supposed Christian revival and triumph of the “moral majority” will mean an end to the death penalty. And it will finally go the way of the firing squads and electric chairs of the past. Even today’s sterile, “lethal injection” and gas chambers trigger a horrifying death of suffocation and simulated drowning.
It’s simple really, there is no humane way to take a healthy, living, walking, speaking, thinking, breathing adult and turn him or her into a corpse.
It’s an old bit Karol and I have. She says something like “so and so is pro-life.”
“Really?,” I reply “A Republican that’s against the death penalty? Sweet.”
Of course, nine times out of ten, I’m mistaken and so and so is not against the death penalty at all.
I interviewed the warden at one of the most notorious death houses in the world about his job. He was as emphatic and bible thumping a Christian as one finds in the backwaters of Louisiana. (When asked why he puts a cross on the grave of every inmate who dies at Angola even though some are Muslim or Jewish who don’t believe in salvation through Jesus Christ, with a straight face he replied, “well, they sure believe in it now.” Presumably, as they burn in hell.)
I asked how a Christian could kill a man. Both testaments seem pretty clear on this one. It was the only time that he faltered.
“It’s hard,” he admitted, “but the bible says render unto Caesar’s what is Caesar’s,” he recovered.
Hmmm, using a tax law to justify the death penalty, pretty smooth.
Some fairly brutal killers have been executed. I suppose it’s true enough that they “deserved” it. But what about us as a society?
What do we deserve for calmly, deliberately, methodically taking the life of another for no other purpose than vegeance?
No person on death row today was deterred from murdering, kidnapping, raping or robbing because of the death penalty. Most of these crimes are perpetrated by fools who think they’ll get away with it or sick individuals.
There’s no rehabilitative purpose served by the needle.
Putting a societal pillow over their faces until they are dead, just makes us criminal.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for punishment.
I’ve also held the hand of a mother whose son was shot to death in a tragic case of wrong place/wrong time, I’ve seen the face of a close friend in the hospital after she was raped and attended the funeral of a kid killed by people “sending a message” to her father.
I know there is terrible evil in the world.
But does the death row warden ending Bennie’s life end the evil or further it?
I have been following the seemingly never-ending Michael Ross saga and finished watching Court TV’s ‘The Exonerated,’ that I taped on Saturday, the death penalty has been much on my mind these days. It’s been almost eight years since my first visit to death row and five years since I met Bennie, but since it’s been four years since federal executions came roaring back after a 40 year hiatus with Timothy McVeigh’s lethal injection in 2001 and the tri-state area is about to have its first execution in 45 years, I get the feeling things are only going to get worse, before they get better.

DEAR OPRAH,

Friday, January 28th, 2005 by Dawn Summers

DEAR OPRAH,

Hi. I hope you don’t mind me calling you Oprah, but I figure since I’ve been writing to you for thirteen years, have seen all your movies (including ‘The Women of Brewster Place’, but I assume you got my letter about how that movie changed my life -I spit on every cut now), buy every book you tell me to, subscribe to your magazine, give subscriptions out as Christmas presents, and endorsed you for President (even though I suspect that you are a Republican, not that I wouldn’t switch parties if I thought that would please you) it would be alright if I addressed you in the familiar.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing to you this time is I just wondered what I did to anger you. What have I ever done but admire you and aspire to someday have you adopt me?

I mean, I have racked my brain for the last few hours since finally finishing Anna Karenina, and I cannot figure out why you would do that to me.

To say that the book sucked, would not really capture the irritation of wondering how Tolstoy could still have 81 pages left after the title character has been crushed to death. It hardly seems fair that she should escape the misery of her own tome, while the reader suffers through yet more mundane explorations of European agricultural philosophy.

Why would you force me to walk back and forth with that 850 page book when you knew how awful it was? And I know you knew, no good novel would mention Schopenhauer in passing. No, no this was some sort of medieval punishment, but I can’t for the life of me imagine for what.

Now, I know you have never responded to any of my letters before (or read them on the air), but I hope you answer this one, so that I can know my transgression and avoid upsetting you in the future.

I hope you, Stedman and your dogs are all well. You look fantastic by the way, this season has been one your best.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Dawn Summers

P.S. As always I would love an autographed picture if you could send me one. Thanks!

WHY WASN’T I INVITED?

Friday, January 28th, 2005 by Dawn Summers

WHY WASN’T I INVITED?

This week, in a closed meeting with African-Americans, Mr. Bush asserted that Social Security was a bad deal for their race, repeating his earlier claim that “African-American males die sooner than other males do, which means the system is inherently unfair to a certain group of people.”

From Little Black Lies

A NEW SEASON OF APPRENTICE, ANOTHER REASSURANCE

Thursday, January 27th, 2005 by Dawn Summers


A NEW SEASON OF APPRENTICE, ANOTHER REASSURANCE

Because, well, it needs to be said. Again.

CALIFORNIA D.A. TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY FOR CRAZY MAN

Thursday, January 27th, 2005 by Dawn Summers

CALIFORNIA D.A. TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY FOR CRAZY MAN

Cooley said the complaint would be amended to add another count to refer to the 11th victim, found in the wreckage late Wednesday night. And he said the defendant’s suicidal intent didn’t make any difference to him.

“He’s not going to engage my sympathy because he was despondent. His despondency doesn’t move me,” the district attorney told The Associated Press.

Arraignment was planned for Thursday afternoon but could be delayed depending on Alvarez’s medical condition.

Alvarez, 25, got out of his green Jeep Cherokee before the two commuter trains crashed Wednesday morning in this Los Angeles suburb. He stood by as the gruesome chain-reaction wreck scattered wreckage and bodies over a quarter-mile of track.

The SUV was stuck between tracks away from a crossing and once there, he could not have moved it even if he had tried, Metrolink CEO David Solow said. The southbound train that struck it bolted skyward, hit a parked Union Pacific railcar, then clipped the northbound train.

For the love of.

I am not a proponent of the death penalty under any circumstances, but this case hardly seems to serve any of the death penalty’s ends.

PROFILES IN COURAGE

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005 by Dawn Summers


PROFILES IN COURAGE

Senators who voted against confirmation of Dr. Rice for Secretary of State

Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.
Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.
John Kerry, D-Mass.
Carl Levin, D-Mich.
James Jeffords, I-Vt.
Jack Reed, D-R.I
Mark Dayton, D-Minn.
Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii
Evan Bayh, D-Ind.
Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
Tom Harkin, D-Iowa
Richard Durbin, D-Ill.

Very disappointed this list isn’t longer and doesn’t include either of my Senate representatives. Punks.

via Lucianne

WHAT’S ALL THE HUB BUB?

Wednesday, January 26th, 2005 by Dawn Summers

WHAT’S ALL THE HUB BUB?

Tons of secretaries are black women.