Category Archives: Television
Gawker – There’s a specific kind of person who thinks, after watching tons of procedural justice TV shows, that he could commit the perfect crime. And there’s an even more specific kind of person who actually can. Enacting an elaborate plot to frame his ex-girlfriend for armed robbery, Queens resident Jerry Ramrattan almost became the latter.
According to the New York Times, Seemona Sumasar says Ramrattan “cornered her, taped her mouth shut, and raped her” while they were in a relationship. Apparently Sumasar, a former Morgan Stanley analyst and restaurateur, had realized that Ramrattan was a compulsive liar. A Law & Order and CSI fanatic, he pretended to be employed as a police investigator for the duration of their relationship. Sumasar pressed charges for the rape. Ramrattan made bail. Soon thereafter, he launched his alleged revenge plot:
They said he coached the supposed victims, driving them past Ms. Sumasar’s house so that they could describe her Jeep Grand Cherokee and showing them her photo so they could pick her out of a police lineup.
The setup began in September 2009, prosecutors said. An illegal immigrant from Trinidad told the police that he had been handcuffed and robbed of $700 by an Indian woman who was disguised as a police officer and had a gun, according to court documents.
Prosecutors said Mr. Ramrattan had persuaded the immigrant to lie, telling him that he could receive a special visa for victims of violent crimes.
Other “victims” came forward with similar stories. Some clues made it look like Sumasar had been covering her tracks. So, even though Sumasar had an alibi and phone records to back it up, she ended up with a $1 million bail after her arrest, forcing her to languish behind bars while Ramrattan went free. Eventually an “informant” blew the whistle; now Sumasar is in the clear and Ramrattan is awaiting trial for rape and conspiracy. His defense: She framed him. Double frame job!
Sumasar is planning lawsuits against the police departments of New York City and Nassau County. The Queen District Attorney marveled, “in the collective memory, no one has ever seen anything like this before.”
The Hollywood Reporter has said, “Much as MTV did with 20 and 30-something Italian-Americans on the Jersey Shore, Bravo will offer its viewers a peak into the world of young and moneyed Persian-Americans living in Los Angeles.”
Right now it has a tentative title ‘Shahs of Sunset’ and will focus on young Persians here in the Los Angeles area as they live their lives. It will be a combination of ‘Real Housewives’ (with their lavish spending) as well as ‘Jersey Shore’ (party, party, party).
Andy Cohen, Bravo’s executive vice president of original programming and development, has said, “The group of friends featured in our show is colorful, affluent and fun, Ryan and his team understand what our viewers want to see and when they brought us this group we responded immediately.”
For more information, click here
On Sunday, July 17th, Casey Anthony was released from prison after serving nearly 3 years behind bars awaiting the trial of her daughter Caylee (who she was suspected of killing or having some involvement). Many people are outraged that she spent such a little amount of time behind bars, but the fact of the matter is…she was acquitted.
My personal opinion oh her involvement is just that, personal opinion. I think the main reason people are so bothered by this verdict is because nearly EVERYONE believes that she could have at the very least, informed authorities that her daughter was missing for a month! It seems rather strange that a loving mother would just let that go. Also, the tattoo that she had gotten while her daughter was “missing” was rather ironic.
Either way, ” Anthony reportedly boarded a private plane from the Orlando Executive Airport around 3 a.m. Sunday upon her release after approximately three years in prison.” It is also known that she “is safe at an undisclosed location”. I’m so happy to know that she’s safe and living the high life on private planes. Ridiculous.
It is being reported that the driver (no name has been released) struck and killed a pedestrian after a day of shooting and on his way back to return the vehicle. The elderly pedestrian was struck and then taken to the hospital. Shortly after the arrival, the pedestrian died. No charges have been filed at this point, but the accident is still being investigated.
For the FULL article, click here
There is a new showing that will be airing on Bravo, August 15th at 10pm: ‘Most Eligible Dallas’. It will feature these young, hot single girls and guys from Dallas and follow them on their day to day (or night to night). I know you may be thinking that this sounds familiar (Jersey Shore, Real World, etc.), but in fact these individuals already KNEW each other. So you see? It’s different.
Either way, they’re bound to start showing up in magazines, so you better get to know them. Here are the bios from Bravo:
Matt Nordgren: Matt is an all-American, blue-eyed Texan charmer. Formerly a quarterback at the University of Texas, Matt signed to play football professionally, until an injury shifted his path. Today, the ambitious 28-year old is partner in the family energy business. When it comes to the ladies, Matt definitely plays the field, but isn’t a player. Though often seen with a different girl on his arm, Matt is intrigued by the possibilities of an old fling, Neill Sklyer, who moves back to the city. His best friend, Courtney Kerr, calls herself Matt’s “gatekeeper” and definitely voices her disapproval of the women Matt surrounds himself with.
Courtney Kerr: An outspoken Southern Belle, Courtney’s keen fashion sense reflects her personality: fun, vibrant and unique. She enjoys working closely with Dallas-based jewelry designer and regularly attends fashion shows, claiming fashion is her drug. Courtney is determined to find true love, though her best friend, Matt Nordgren, is convinced that her standards are too high and unrealistic. She claims to have only platonic feelings for Matt, but is always quick to dismiss the women in his life.
Glenn Pakulak: A punter for the Oakland Raiders, Glenn has been enjoying the distractions in Dallas while waiting to see if the NFL lockout will be lifted. A guy’s guy with an unusually keen fashion sense, he energetically throws himself into everything he does. After ending a four-year relationship that couldn’t survive the long distance, Glenn has realized that he’s nowhere near ready to settle down. His effortless charm wins the ladies over; however his “two-date maximum” prevents anyone from getting too close. When the ex –girlfriend comes into town, Glenn is reminded of the good that came with being in a relationship and will have to decide if he should stick with the single life or rekindle a past romance.
Drew Ginsburg: Drew speaks his mind and wears his heart on his sleeve. A proud gay man, he prefers cars to couture. Drew works in the family business, which owns Boardwalk Auto Group and controls 10 car dealerships throughout the Dallas/Forth Worth area and in San Francisco. Over the past nine years, Drew has been on a remarkable weight loss journey, losing over 200 pounds. Tired of unfulfilling flings and short-lived relationships, Drew is determined to settle down and start a family. Drew also deals with unresolved feelings for an ex boyfriend and in order to move on, must resolve if there is anything left between the two.
Tara Harper: With her bright blonde hair and curvaceous figure, Tara is the quintessential Dallas girl. She has gained financial independence as the Executive Vice President of Sales for her family’s manufacturing company, however, her real passion is her charity. Tara has called off four engagements in the past, but hasn’t given up the hope that her soul mate is still out there. Tara has a long list of rules about dating, which may contribute to her difficulty in finding the right guy. With a pattern of jumping from one relationship to the next, Tara is planning to be single a while, but finds that she has to reconsider when a friend becomes something more.
Neill Skylar: After moving away at the young age of 18 to support herself as a musician and actress in Los Angeles and New York City, Neill has returned to her hometown. She is quickly re-acclimating to Dallas, while embracing her most important role as a new mom. The singer/songwriter is working hard to gain recognition for her new band. She lives with her 1-year old son and believes that one can still have fun and be a hot mama. Neill is trying to find her place in Dallas with the help of long-time friend, Matt Nordgren. Though Neill and Matt both say they aren’t looking for something serious, the two can’t deny their chemistry.
For more info visit: http://www.bravotv.com/most-eligible-dallas/
Within minutes of the Casey Anthony verdict, much of America devolved into the mass media equivalent of a mob bearing torches and pitchforks. Twitter lit up with calls for vigilante justice, and proposals that we revoke the Fifth Amendment’s protection against double jeopardy (or at least that we revoke it for Casey Anthony). Nancy Grace nearly spit fire, proclaiming, “The devil is dancing tonight.” Conservative syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro wants to do away with juries altogether.
Even as DNA testing continues to exonerate wrongly convicted people, including people who were nearly executed, it’s this rare case — in which a jury recognized that there was no physical evidence linking Anthony to her daughter’s murder — that has America questioning its justice system.
High-profile trials are anomalies. They’re about as far from the day-to-day goings on in police precincts, courtrooms, and prisons as your typical TV crime drama (the other place Americans get most of their (bad) information about the criminal justice system). Despite what much of the public seems to have taken away from these sorts of trials in recent years, the average person wrongly accused of a crime isn’t a wealthy college lacrosse player with top-notch legal representation. Prosecutors who wrongly charge people aren’t usually stripped of their law license or criminally sanctioned. (In fact, they’re rarely sanctioned at all.) Black men accused of murder aren’t typically represented by “dream teams” of the country’s best defense attorneys. And, believe it or not, if there’s a problem in the criminal justice system when it comes to children, it’s that parents and caretakers are too often overcharged in accidental deaths or as a result of bogus allegations, not that they regularly get away with murder.
Even more regrettable is that every time a Casey Anthony-type trial captures the public’s attention, someone gets the idea that we need a new law in response to the completely unrepresentative case, a law that presumably would have prevented that particularly travesty from happening. The problem, of course, is that the new law — usually poorly written and passed in a fit of hysteria — is too late to apply to the case it was designed for. But it does then apply to everyone else.
Laws named after crime victims and dead people are usually a bad idea. They play more to emotion than reason. But they’re disturbingly predictable, especially when they come after the death of a child. So it’s really no surprise that activist Michelle Crowder is now pushing “Caylee’s Law,” a proposed federal bill that would charge parents with a felony if they fail to report a missing child within 24 hours, or if they fail to report the death of a child within an hour. What’s surprising is just how quickly the Change.org petition for Caylee’s Law has gone viral. As of this writing it has more than 700,000 signatures, and is now the most successful campaign in the site’s history. For reasons of constitutionality and practicality, it seems unlikely that Caylee’s Law will ever be realized at the federal level. But according to the AP, at least sixteen state legislatures are now considering some version of the law. That’s troubling.
This is a bad way to make public policy. In an interview with CNN, Crowder concedes that she didn’t consult with a single law enforcement official before coming up with her 24-hour and 1-hour limits. This raises some questions. How did she come up with those cutoffs? Did she consult with any grief counselors to see if there may be innocuous reasons why an innocent person who just witnessed a child’s death might not immediately report it, such as shock, passing out, or some other sort of mental breakdown? Did she consult with a forensic pathologist to see if it’s even possible to pin down the time of death with the sort of precision you’d need to make Caylee’s Law enforceable? Have any of the lawmakers who have proposed or are planning to propose this law actually consulted with anyone with some knowledge of these issues?
Jamie Downs is the Coastal Regional Medical Examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and co-editor of a forthcoming book on forensic ethics about Caylee’s Law. Downs also formerly served on the board of directors for the National Association of Medical Examiners. Contrary to what you may have learned from watching CSI, Downs says, there’s no way for a medical examiner to determine time of death in the sort of narrow window that would be necessary to enforce Caylee’s Law. “I understand that people are outraged, and I understand why they’d want a law like this, but I just don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t see how you would enforce it,” Downs says. “You just can’t say for certain that a person died an hour and five minutes ago as opposed to 45 minutes ago.”
If medical science can’t pinpoint the time of the child’s death to the minute, how else are authorities going to determine it? They can’t ask the parent. A guilty person isn’t going to give you an honest answer, and even an innocent parent may lie if they fear the truth could land them in prison. It also seems safe to assume that a parent’s first instinct upon witnessing the death of a child isn’t to look up at the clock to take note of an official time of death.
Certainly it’s easy to distinguish a body that’s been dead for less than hour from one that has been dead for six or seven. Presumably, Crowder and the lawmakers supporting this bill put the cutoff at one hour to prevent someone who intentionally or accidentally kills a child from having time to cover up what happened. But if that’s the justification, it’s all the more important that a forensic pathologist be able to nail down the time of death to the minute. And that just isn’t possible.
There are myriad other problems with the one-hour requirement. What if a child dies while sleeping? When would you start the clock on the parent’s one-hour window to report? From the time the parent discovers the child is dead, or from the time the child actually dies? If it’s the former, can you really believe what a parent tells you if he knows a felony charge hinges on his answer? What if a parent or babysitter missed the deadline because she fell asleep at the time the child was playing outside and suffered a fatal accident? You could argue this is evidence of bad parenting or inattentive babysitting, but under those circumstances, do you really want to charge a grieving parent or heartbroken babysitter with a felony?
The portion of the bill that requires a parent to report a missing child within 24 hours is just as fraught with problems. When does that clock start? From the time the child actually gets abducted, gets lost, or is somehow killed, or at the time the parents noticed the child was missing? How do you pinpoint the time that they “noticed”? When teenager Rosie Larsen is abducted and murdered in the new AMC drama The Killing, it takes two days for her parents to notice she’s missing. They thought she was spending the night at a friend’s house, and she and her friends often rotated sleeping over at one another’s homes on the weekends. The Killing is fiction, but this isn’t an implausible scenario. Again, are we really so angry about the Casey Anthony verdict that we’re prepared to charge grieving parents with a felony because it takes them longer than some arbitrary deadline to notice their child is missing?
The law and the attention it attracts could also cause problems of overcompliance. How many parents will notify the authorities with false reports within an hour or two, out of fear of becoming suspects? How many such calls and wasted police resources on false alarms will it take before police grow jaded and begin taking note of missing child reports, but don’t bother investigating them until much later? How many legitimate abductions will then go uninvestigated during the critical first few hours because they were lost in the pile of false reports inspired by Caylee’s Law?
It isn’t difficult to come up with other scenarios where innocent people may get ensnared in Caylee’s Law.
Here’s another: You’re camping with your family when your son goes missing. One of your other children says she last saw him swimming in a lake. You spend several hours frantically looking for him before discovering that, tragically, he has drowned. You call the police. Under Caylee’s Law, is this a “missing child” case, or a “dead child” case? Do you get charged with a felony for not notifying authorities within an hour of your son’s drowning, or are you afforded the 24-hour window from the time you noticed he went missing? Is this really the sort of thing we want parents to be considering while they’re trying to find their child? What if your kid gets lost hiking on a camping trip where there’s no cell phone reception? It could take a few hours to notice your kid is missing, another few to look for him before you begin to panic. In some cases, it may be best to keep looking than to abandon the area to notify authorities.
The counter to these hypotheticals is that a prosecutor wouldn’t charge grieving parents under those circumstances. But why give them the option? Sure, it may be difficult to conceive of a prosecutor charging good parents who bear zero blame in a child’s death, but it’s not hard to envision a prosecutor using the notification requirements to punish parents or guardians who make subjectively poor decisions that aren’t otherwise crimes. Why were you letting your kid swim in the lake unsupervised in the first place? Maybe the babysitter bears no blame for the SIDS death of the infant she was watching, but it took her two hours to notice the baby had died in his sleep because she was napping off a hangover, or making out with her boyfriend downstairs. If you find it doubtful that a prosecutor could be so vindictive, look at Mississippi and Alabama, where women who have had miscarriages are being charged with murder.
While Caylee’s Law could quite conceivably ensnare innocent grieving parents, it seems unlikely that it will prevent a single child’s death. Consider: Is a father who is depraved enough to kill his own son really going to be dissuaded by a law that says he must notify the authorities of his son’s death within an hour of having killed him? He’s already committing murder. The law isn’t likely to affect a parent who kills a child in a fit of anger or rage, either. By definition, crimes of passion are perpetrated in the heat of the moment, with little consideration of consequences.
The law will have at least have one effect that Crowder and her supporters intend. Crowder’s petition letter expresses her hope that once the law is passed, “no more innocent children will have to go without justice.” And she’s right. Caylee’s Law provides another way for prosecutors to convict a suspected parent or guardian of something, even if they don’t have the evidence to prove the actual murder. Florida state Rep. Scott Plakon, sponsor of the bill in his state, told the AP “God forbid we ever run into a mother like Casey Anthony again. If we do, that mother will be a felon.” I suspect this is why so many people have signed Crowder’s petition. This is about vengeance. They’re angry at this verdict.
That anger is understandable. But anger is a bad reason to make public policy. New laws, especially laws with serious criminal sanctions, demand careful consideration: Will the law actually address the problem it is intended to address? Is it enforceable? What are some possible unintended consequences of this law? Could it be abused by police and prosecutors?
Laws named after the victims of brutal crimes make it difficult to ask these questions, especially for politicians, who aren’t exactly known for taking bold stands against an angry public. When you put Caylee Anthony’s name on a bill, you imply that anyone who opposes the bill — even for good reasons — is indifferent to the death of its namesake, or at least isn’t as concerned about it as you think they ought to be. That’s not a formula for an honest discussion of the bill’s merits.
In a country of 308 million people, bad things are going to happen. We already have laws against murder, child abuse, and child neglect. When you pass laws that make it easier to imprison people in cases where the state doesn’t have enough evidence to prove the crime everyone knows they’re actually prosecuting, you undermine the integrity of the justice system. The “flaw” that led to the Casey Anthony verdict is pretty straightforward: The state failed to prove its case. And the government must prove its case, even when all of America is 100 percent certain of the defendant’s guilt, because we want to be sure the state will always also have to prove its case when we aren’t so certain.
Of course, there’s another reason we go through the formality of a trial before throwing someone in prison, even in “slam-dunk” cases like this one. Sometimes, even when Nancy Grace herself is completely sure that the bastards are guilty, we later discover that she was wrong.
One of the NASA astronauts on board Space Shuttle Atlantis, which launched Friday, will test a new urine recycling system that may be implemented on the International Space Station in the future.
This “Forward Osmosis Bag” (FOB) system is a portable drinking pouch that converts human wastewater into consumable water by filtering toxins through a semi-permeable membrane and a concentrated sugar solution.
While the urine recycling machine on board the International Space Station must draw power from the craft in order to run, this baggie system will not.
“This could be a first step toward recapturing the humidity from our sweat, from our breath, even from our urine, and recycling it and making it drinkable,” said NASA project scientist and experiment leader Howard Levine, according to Wired.
Here’s how it works: wastewater fills the bag and passively transfers through an inner layer, which contains the sugar solution; toxins are left behind as the liquid passes from the outer layer to the inner and the wastewater becomes safe to drink. However, Wired notes, the system hasn’t been perfected yet, and certain toxins can still get through the filters. These toxins can build up in the kidneys over time, making the FOB practical only for short journeys.
The Atlantis astronaut who will test the filtration system won’t be using wastewater, though, and will instead use a “potassium-rich solution” to test the baggie during the shuttle’s 12-day mission at the International Space Station.
Check out a photo of the Forward Osmosis Bag (below).
LOOK: [via NASA]
In theory this sounds great, I just find it odd that they waited until the program was “temporarily” finished until deciding to do something like this. It uses less power, therefore, less money. Maybe if this would have been implemented awhile ago, we would still be able to have a US Space Program. Either way, I’m all about drinking my urine, so long as this thing works right every time.
This is by far one of the creepiest things I have seen, and I have baby fever. I mean, who the hell has their child go on National TV and sing THIS?! It’s obvious that everyone here thinks it is rather odd, but then the mom is just smiling with excitement. I have no more words, just watch:
PS. This is an altered version of the original video. Here is the original: