Should We Care About Casey Anthony?

“Mike Spindell, guest blogger”

Three years ago, the story of missing toddler Cayley Anthony became a media sensation. This was a story with all the elements of human drama. It had a pretty, young mother who appeared to be partying while her cute toddler went missing for 31 days. At the end of the 31 days, after having repeatedly lied to the grandparents about her child’s whereabouts the mother, Casey, admitted to her parents, Cindy and George that she didn’t know where the child was. She told them her mysterious “Nanny”, named “Zanny” had purportedly fled with the child for parts unknown. The Police were called and a media circus began.

The devoted Grandparents went on TV pleading for information about their missing child and setting up their own search “headquarters”. The daughters’ interviews with Police became increasingly bizarre as she lied incessantly about what had happened and even took them to her workplace, where after a period she admitted hadn’t worked there for two years. Phone pictures and videos surfaced of her inappropriately partying during the 31 days her child was missing. Photo’s and home videos of this cute child incessantly appeared on the TV in the vain hope that someone would recognize her. It was “the stuff that dreams are made of” for media people hawking their product. After months of searching and continual reportage the decomposed skeleton of the child was found in a wood, down the block from the Anthony’s home. Police had already arrested the mother, first for lying to them, obstruction of justice, Neglect. She made bail was arrested again on bad check charges, bailed and finally arrested for Felony Murder in October 2008. Check here for all the summary details without the emotion: .

This trial has taken HLN, CNN’s trashy headline network into the ratings stratosphere:  HLN  became the network of record for this trial.

Here are some links to the HLN website to providing an idea of the quality of commentary and the coverage this trial is getting.

The guilt or innocence of the defendant is not for me to write, since I haven’t watched the entire trial from the jury’s perspective and I do firmly believe in the process of law. What has concerned me and what I think should interest readers here, is that the sensational coverage of the story degrades the public’s view of legal processes. The guest commentary is supplied by guest Judges (former), prosecutors, lawyers, a psychic, a psychologist, and others, offering critiques of the case, speculation about the witnesses and a verbal box score of the trial’s progress. Naturally, everyone opines about the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

It would be fair to say that with a sequestered jury, this is irrelevant to the disposition of the case. It’s not, however, the fairness of the trial that is of interest to me

Pre-trial publicity, evidentiary leaks and media circus could well have influenced this case before it began. There is a long history of this behavior in our history. In my lifetime from Caryl Chessman, to Sam Shephard to OJ and in many other instances pre-trial publicity affects outcome.

Besides the toxicity of pre-trial publicity, there is another factor that I’ve found very upsetting as I listen to the commentary on this case. For the sake of transparency, I must admit I’ve been one of the 4:00pm to 6:00pm viewers boosting HLN’s ratings. As a non-expert legal buff, I am fascinated on how the public focused away from the legal issues, such as “reasonable doubt” and towards the inanities such as Grandfather George Anthony’s alleged affair.

Average people, uninterested in the intricacies of our legal system, are thirsty for seamy details and use these to make up their minds on the guilt or innocence of the defendant. When we here use guilt or innocence, it is in the context of adherence to timeworn legal concepts. To the public it is a visceral matter and when someone who the majority believes is guilty, based on media accounts, is acquitted because the evidence falls short of surpassing “reasonable doubt”, outrage, and cynicism towards our legal system ensue. Members of that public will possibly called upon to man jury panels. They will take with them all the information provided by shallow, sensational punditry, a belief that the prosecution is always correct and an eye for details that may be irrelevant to their decisions.

Tomorrow, the final arguments will begin, the TV audiences will swell, and the public will watch in droves, probably already having decided guilt or innocence.

Sadly, their beliefs not be informed by an understanding of the legal process of a trial and they will feel vindicated or disappointed either way the verdict turns out, based on the rumblings of their “gut”. My own feeling is that there should not be a conviction of felony murder because the cause of death is uncertain and there are only unsubstantiated theories of motives and methods. Hey, but what do I know?

While I have pretensions to wisdom on occasion, I must admit bafflement on how we as a country can restrain sensationalistic pre-trial publicity and educate the general public on proper trial procedure, within the constraints of freedom of the press, which is so necessary in the maintenance of a democratic system. Given the wide scale disappearance of Civics curricula in our schools, in tandem with budget reductions, we are generally less educated in essential knowledge of the Law than in times past. How do we deal with this to maintain a society where justice, in its legal context, prevails?

59 thoughts on “Should We Care About Casey Anthony?

  1. Mike,
    It is a great story! I agree about your concerns about the media circus that takes over in these kind of cases. I, for one think that if cameras were allowed in all courtrooms, there would be less of a circus and the public would have a better understanding of the process. A very sad case.

  2. Mike,

    A great story…..A sad story….on this one…I have not a clue if she did it or did not…a fair trial for her in this country is probably out of the question….

    FYI…her attorney is facing contempt hearing after this matter is concluded…or so I read….

  3. Yes, we should all care about a citzen’s right to a FAIR TRIAL. Insightful question.

    I just finished a 4 day jury trial in state court here in Louisville, Kentucky. During jury selection, opening statement and again in closing arguments, I reminded the jury that their choices were verdicts of GUILTY or NOT GUILTY. That they could only reach a verdict of GUILTY, if and only if, they were satisfied from the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt of my client’s guilt. I reminded them the choices were not: GUILTY or INNOCENT, the latter being more of a moral term, between my client and his God/Higher Power.

    Frequently reporters use this term “innocent” incorrectly in describing the axioms of law in a criminal jury trial. It is not innocent (free from guilt or sin or blameless), the real question is did the prosecutor prove his case by admissable evidence, prove every element of the crime charged, beyond a reasonable doubt. I do this to try to get them to focus on the evidence from a non-moral position, from a purely legal one, pointing to the written instructions given to them by the judge before closing arguments. They never contain the word INNOCENT.

    This is my first reaction to your post. We all need to educate the public in general, and the jury members ,specifically, of this time honored criminal justice concept.

    As always, I enjoy your comments, thanks, Frank

  4. Mike,

    It is both an interesting and a sad story, to be sure. Some people are drawn to sensational stories and trials such as this one in the same way they are drawn to watching burning buildings and looking at the aftermath of auto accidents on the highway.

    I wish I had an answer for you.

  5. Second thought, a criminal defense attorney should NEVER say in opening that his client will take the stand and not do so. Juries do not like to be mislead by either counsel, and never in something as important as this.The media has pointed out hundreds of times that Casey DID NOT TAKE THE STAND in her defense.

    Ole/old criminal defense trial lawyers (like me) usually say that the client may or may not take the stand, depending on the need to do so based on the prosecutors proof. I remind them that his taking the stand or not cannot be held against him and no inference of guilt is to be inferred (as I know the written jury instuctions will so instruct them at the end of all proof). Both I, and the written instructions, will advise he is PRESUMED INNOCENT of all charges at the beginning of the trial and that presumption remains until the entire case is finally submitted to them for a verdict. Frank

  6. Isn’t it funny when the right to a fair trial butts heads with the right to a free press, there are passionate views on both sides expressed?

    I, for one, believe the right to a fair trial trumps, but hey, maybe that’s just me. The media in this country have more money and political clout that an individual lawyer or client who is in the trial being covered

    Now compare this topic with the other post today dealing with the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. Once again, the power of the federal and state government’s prosecutors office, state, local and federal law enforcement vs. one citizen’s who claims a contitutional violation of his privacy.

    Very interesting…..

  7. “Pre-trial publicity, evidentiary leaks and media circus could well have influenced this case before it began. There is a long history of this behavior in our history. In my lifetime from Caryl Chessman, to Sam Shephard to OJ”
    Absolutely. Intense pre-trial publicity can’t be controlled in a case like this unfortunately. I have often thought that with a case like this one neither side has a fair shot at getting an untainted jury pool (or judge) and the best that can be hoped for by the ‘losing’ side is that they have developed a good record for an appeal. The level of publicity is just too great. By the time OJ got to trial I knew two things: he should never have gone to trial based on any evidence that came from the first, illegal, search (when the LAPD found the blood in his vehicle) and that he killed his wife.

    Pre-trial publicity is potent stuff, no one is immune to it, and there are some crimes (and their pre-trial events) that are ongoing national news. You can’t escape people knowing the players, allegations and background, even thousands of miles away.

    There is another level of newsworthy crime somewhere between those really high-profile cases and the one or two time, 3 or 4 inch story in the local paper though that has the potential to taint the jury pool or local judges. That would seem to me to be remediable to some good extent with a change of venue.

    There are crimes that get heavy local play for a while because they are exceptionally brutal or a party to the matter is a local celebrity or big shot or it affects a lot of people. When someone is apprehended or the charges are brought the case gets rehashed in depth and then when the trial starts and progresses the story gets big play again. But it’s local or perhaps statewide. It’s not national news. Locally though it’s a matter of repeated gossip, speculation and certainly taints the jury pool.

    It seems only logical to me to move the trial as a matter of course at the request of the prosecution or defense. It’s my understanding though that venue changes are seldom granted when requested and hardly ever asked for in other than really high profile, national news type cases.

    Thanks for a thought provoking article Mike. Damn fine job for your maiden voyage :-)

  8. Well done Mike.

    We should care because it is our judicial system.

    Like you, I do not want the judicial system replaced by Barnum & Bailey’s circus.

  9. i don’t know how much coverage this is getting over the rest of the country but here (i live near daytona) they have been preempting programs almost all regular stations. one even allows people to tweet comments that they show at the bottom of the screen. even today (saturday) abc,nbc, and fox were showing hi-lights (or low lights) of the trial.

    this isn’t a trial it’s a joke. with peoples lives at stake.

    florida has more lightning strike per year than any other state. i’m hoping nancy grace spends a lot of time outdoors.

  10. Mike,

    Great to see you as a guest blogger. As someone who has avoided the coverage of Casey Anthony as much as possible, I found your take on this very interesting. I think the problem you identified is an extremely important one to address as well (I don’t have a clue as to how to solve it either, although I believe that fixing our public eduction system is a significant part of the solution.

  11. As they say, there is no such thing as a perfect trial, but we can only hope for a fair trial. Juries constantly amaze me with their ability to sort the important stuff from the distractors and dramatics of the lawyers. I have a tape around here somewhere by Racehorse Haynes. He talks about the fact there are 24 eyeballs in that jury box. Nothing in or about the courtroom escapes notice with that many eyes gazing around the room. I have not watched the trial, except for a few minutes here and there while passing through the room where my wife is watching. The main thing I have taken away from what I have seen so far is the almost total lack of affect on the part of the defendant, even during awful testimony from the witness stand. If I were a juror, I could not help taking that into consideration.

    There was a really good answer by an expert about his fee. The attorney asked when he had been hired by counsel opposite. The expert snapped back, without missing a breath, “I was not hired. I was consulted.” That is a line I have used myself, but have never heard anyone else use it.

  12. Mike, good on being a guest blogger. Very good topic for a first diary, and well written. Learning HTML will come with a little practice and had nothing to do with the excellent content of your diary.

  13. I, for one, believe the right to a fair trial trumps (right to a free press), but hey, maybe that’s just me. (frankmascagniiii)

    No sir, not just you. I wrote on another thread about how the trial of Sam Sheppard impacted on my view of our justice system at a very young age. I firmly believe that the right to a fair trial trumps the right to a free press.

  14. “How do we deal with this to maintain a society where justice, in its legal context, prevails?”


    Good one out of the box, Mike S. When in doubt about our democracy, I usually turn to the manufacturers’ instructions:

    “A great obstacle to good education is the inordinate passion prevalent for novels, and the time lost in that reading which should be instructively employed. When this poison infects the mind, it destroys its tone and revolts it against wholesome reading. Reason and fact, plain and unadorned, are rejected. Nothing can engage attention unless dressed in all the figments of fancy, and nothing so bedecked comes amiss. The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life. This mass of trash, however, is not without some distinction; some few modeling their narratives, although fictitious, on the incidents of real life, have been able to make them interesting and useful vehicles of a sound morality… For a like reason, too, much poetry
    should not be indulged. Some is useful for forming style and taste. Pope, Dryden,
    Thompson, Shakespeare, and of the French, Moliere, Racine, the Corneilles, may be read with pleasure and improvement.”

    –Thomas Jefferson (Letter to Nathaniel Burwell, 1818).

    Substitute “CNN,” “Fox News,” or the like for “novels” and you have your answer.

  15. I’d say whatever regretful year it was, that people behaving badly became high entertainment – that was the genesis of the ugliness so well stated by Mike.

    I’d surmise our mainstream media stuck a wet finger in the air, and noted the quantum shift in the aggregate IQ. From that point on, the banal and incessant yammerings of “infotainment” were little more than a foregone conclusion. Networks appear to possess a bloodhound’s nose when it comes to dollar-sniffing, and there’s more than one vein of gold in the hills of a dumbed-down populace. An opposing challenge of their ethical lax wouldn’t even be met with anger – merely bewilderment that ethics is relevant.

    All of which – to my way of thinking – points up at a serious flaw in the constantly rising mean societal intelligence.theory known as the Flynn Effect.

  16. Nancy Grace alone perfectly encapsulates this phenomenon. Coverage has been hyperbolic, but consumers of news are generally able to identify and disregard sensationalism.

  17. K, sez: “…consumers of news are generally able to identify and disregard sensationalism.”


    I understand where you are coming from and at one point in my life thought that as well. However, the older I get, the more skeptical I become. There is a substantial minority in this country that thinks anything on Fox “news” is the gospel truth.

    My concern is the purveyors of news programming. News as entertainment is the watchword. As one who grew up on Edward R. Murrow and his “boys,” I miss real news reporting. There was a time when, if you read it in the NYT you could take it as the truth. Now you take it with a grain of salt.

    Those days are now only a dim memory as news programs focus on the trite and trivial to the exclusion of real reporting. For example: the idea you have to have some fringe wingnut on every panel who ought to be heavily medicated and in an institution instead, as a “balance” to an informative discussion with a respected scientist on issues like hunger or global warming, gives me pause regarding the sanity of the news presenters.

  18. Otteray,

    I agree. Most of these “so-called” news programs gives us infotainment. The networks care more about ratings than they do about the truth.

  19. A little late to the post,but congrats Mike S,on getting “your beak wet”,I see that they will be deliberating to day ,Sunday-Unusual ???

  20. Thank you everyone for you thoughtfulness in commenting and your kindness in response. When Jonathan graciously asked if I would do this, beyond feeling greatly flattered, came a sense of responsibility. As I expressed to him I saw my role in this as one of stimulation, rather than advocacy, in discussion. I will keep within my own self-imposed guidelines. However there were in your comments some things that resonated with me.

    Bonnie said she was surprised I was old enough to remember the case.

    Chessman was executed during my sophomore years in H.S.. I clearly remember having a heated argument in class with my History Teacher. He believed Chessman should be executed and I believed that the fact that his dragging the victim 90 feet from his car, before sexually abusing her, was too broad a definition of kidnapping. Despite all the publicity surrounding the case much of the public was unaware that Chessman hadn’t murdered the girl. The argument developed into a shouting match and the result was I was banned from class until the final. The teacher believed I would need his final month of preparation to pass, he was wrong.

    OS, I too grew up with Murrow and his “boys” and when Walter Cronkite finally retired, the “golden era” of TV news ended.

    “Nancy Grace alone perfectly encapsulates this phenomenon.”

    Her coinage of “Totmom” alone for Casey Anthony serves as ample indictment of her capabilities.

    “I’d surmise our mainstream media stuck a wet finger in the air, and noted the quantum shift in the aggregate IQ. From that point on, the banal and incessant yammerings of “infotainment” were little more than a foregone conclusion.”

    Patric, amen. The frustrating thing for most of us older folks here like Frank and OS, is that we clearly remember different times. That is not the yammering of Old Codgers romantically remembering a non-existent past, but the truth informed by the experience of aging with ones eyes open.

    “The result is a bloated imagination, sickly judgment, and disgust towards all the real businesses of life.”

    Mark, the breadth and pertinence of you knowledge and perspicacity continues to amaze and awe.

    “The networks care more about ratings than they do about the truth.”

    Elaine, so true and so sad.

    “Nancy Grace alone perfectly encapsulates this phenomenon.”

    K, she is the Madame DuFarge of TV news media.

    “I, for one, believe the right to a fair trial trumps (right to a free press), but hey, maybe that’s just me. (frankmascagniiii)”

    Frank and Blouise, we’re all on the same page.

    “The media in this country have more money and political clout that an individual lawyer or client who is in the trial being covered”

    Frank, from what your comments have revealed about you personally, this has been a decades long concern of yours as a
    defense attorney. Between the Prosecution, Police and the media a criminal defense attorney is almost always facing Goliath. I admire the work you do and can appreciate from afar the difficult tasks that face you.

    “By the time OJ got to trial I knew two things: he should never have gone to trial based on any evidence that came from the first, illegal, search (when the LAPD found the blood in his vehicle) and that he killed his wife.”

    LK, I couldn’t agree with you more. however, don’t forget the pre-trial publicity orchestrated by the DA’s office and the jumping his fence by Mark Furman. The amount of prosecutorial and police indiscretion, was matched only by the incompetence shown at trial. I too feel he was guilty, but to me the jury’s decision was actually quite in line with the Law.

  21. Mike S.,
    You are correct about the OJ trial and the hype that Furman and his friends created. The whole slow speed chase was unneccessary. They could have had a couple of cars behind him and had the same result to begin with. LK is correct that it was a bad case to begin with and the tainted evidence should never have been allowed in. Blouise and Frank are correct that the right to a fair trial should be the trump card in any decision.
    Mike S., great first article!!

  22. eniobob: Very unusal to have a trial continue on a Saturday, let alone on a Sunday. I have never particpated in a jury trial on a Sunday in 34 years. Judges will extend a given trial day by starting early or staying late (beyond the “normal” 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. schedule Monday through Friday). Judges will stay late after the jury begins to deliberate until they have a verdict. Things are a little different in Flordia apparently.

  23. Mike Spindell,

    Congrats, regarding your new duty to inform us here while accompanying the other fine guest bloggers. I humbly request that you completely ignore anyone who takes ad hominem shots at you because of your new found responsibilities, because there are a jealous few who will attempt that effort.

    Bear in mind, there are lawyers and other professionals of many stripes who read this blawg and I think the guest bloggers have an obligation to maintain the high standards of excellence that Professor Turley embodies–whether they are posting guest topics or commenting on others’ topics.

    Your selection means we will get to read more of you on a regular basis, which is always something to anticipate with pleasure.

  24. Mike,

    Excellent job on your initial offering. This trial has been a circus. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my ill mother this last week and she has been watching the trial almost exclusively so I’ve gotten to see quite a bit of it. As Frank noted, it is unusual for a trial to carry on into the weekend, but having seen some of the shenanigans of the defense (which should merit a follow up disciplinary hearing and even suspension if not disbarment – surprise expert witnesses and specious claims about not enough time to examine evidence? – come on!) and the borderline unprofessional level of visible personal animosity from the prosecution toward the (admittedly annoying) defense attorney, I can understand why the judge would carry on into the weekend in the interests of time if nothing else. No sense letting either side have an extra weekend to spin before sending the jury into deliberations.

    And again, good job Mike and welcome aboard as a guest blogger.

  25. @FFLEO, I appreciate your effort in trying to reign in the “regulars,” but your passive-aggressive insults send a mixed message.

  26. @ Mike Spindell

    Given the wide scale disappearance of Civics curricula in our schools, in tandem with budget reductions, we are generally less educated in essential knowledge of the Law than in times past.

    Your assertion that civics curricula is disappearing from our schools is unfounded and contradicted by this NCES report. Civics instruction is now mixed into the dodge-podge “social studies” but students appear to be getting about the same amount as they ever did. Not that we ever kept good records until somewhat recently.

    As far as budget reductions, you’d be hard pressed to find any school budget that’s been cut in real terms such that the budget falls below the budget of a couple years ago. Usually, the only budget cutting is in terms of the “rate of growth” and even then that’s a relatively new phenomenon as stateshave run out of money.

    Also, the NAEP results, the only longitudinal measure of student knowledge of civics without selection bias effects shows flat results.

  27. kderosa,

    I have a healthy amount of respect for the regulars and guest bloggers. I just want to request that we all ‘police ourselves’ out of respect for our host and other readers. I think trollish behavior—or whatever term people prefer to use—is in the eye of the reader. Therefore, replace my previous use of ‘troll’ with ‘alleged troll’ to ensure the utmost fairness because no one person here always exhibits those traits.

    I am no one special here so it should not matter to you that I do not respond to you again. Lastly, even if you are paid to post here, that still must not engender negative consequences since free speech is sanctioned, regardless of it being Citizens United-esque or not. However, a person entering this blawg is never forced to listen to or read another person’s free speech.

  28. Some do, W=c.

    Breitbart’s crew have even stepped out from behind their masks on occasion.

    Want to know why both political parties and neocons like the Koch Bros. use them?

    They’re exempted as registering as lobbyists.

    A lovely gift from the Senate.

  29. Don’t forget the reveal of the H.B.Gary emails. That pulled back the veil just a bit. There is software being developed whereby computer bots can participate in trolling and be virtually undetectable by the reader. There was some research on this back in the late 1960’s where a computer would interact with a therapy patient. It was primitive, but as early as 1967-68 some patients could not tell whether they were talking with a psychologist or a computer program.

  30. kderosa,
    Mike S. is correct about civics. If it isn’t on the ‘test”, teachers can’t teach it. If you are in Texas, they have made up their own history and civics to suit their liking so there is no wonder the kids don’t know what the truth is.

  31. rafflaw, according to NAEP, texas students know their civics as well as students in other states, controlling for race and see.

  32. NAEP is the National Assessment of Educational Progress which is the testing. Of course they do well on that, which is exactly the point rafflaw was making. Teachers are required to teach to the test and straying from the state-mandated orthodoxy is forbidden. Kids are learning to regurgitate sanitized and propagandized version of history and civics.

  33. kderosa,
    the point I was making and as OS suggests, was “whose” civics were Texas kids learning? If it is anything like the dribble in their history curriculum, then they are getting the Fox News version.

  34. NAEP is the federal test given to a random sample of students. As a result no one attempts to teach to it. It is low stakes. You are thinking of the texas state test TAKS. TAKS is a high stakes test. It is true that bad school districts try to teach to it. In any event, your confusion has led you to an erroneous analysis of the problem since teaching to TAKS to the extent it exists would have no bearing on NAEP results.

  35. kderosa,
    it isn’t bad districts in Texas, it is all districts in Texas using the state mandated curriculum. You are correct that I was referring to the tests that matter.

  36. As an expert on test design and construction, I am appalled by both the high stakes test design, the monitoring system (NAEP) and the requirement that the teaching should be to the test and not a broad overview where independent thinking is prized. There is the issue of ecological validity all over again. If I am teaching 1+2=4, and the monitoring test is set to see if students understand 1+2=4, then the test is a success. It is the curriculum that is the failure.

  37. Woosty’s still a Cat:

    “do people really get paid to post here?”

    Yeah, seems the Republicon Eagles Nest has decreed that its minions must sally forth into intellectual discussions they can’t possibly fathom with their eighth grade view of the world, and try to inject all manner of nonsense and talking points into adult discussions. Sort of pathetic, but the dark Lords of Deception have no compunction about this since Lee Atwater decided that thuggery equals politics. Discourse among folks who see the world for what it is in shades of gray rather than the black-white perspective of the zealot represent a real threat. Atwater recanted on his death bed in an historic copout but, like the automatons they are, they continued and found a new Messiah in Heir Karl Rove.

    You can spot them with the three “F”s: frequency of posts; foolish, often out of context, publication of Republicon talking points; and fallacious reasoning. You don’t usually get them until the Republicon High Command feels antsy and then they descend like Orks. Come to think of it they seem to resemble our fictional friends form Middle Earth. Sort of Neanderthal-like — in word and deed.

    When they’re here, it means we’re winning and that, my friend, is cause to celebrate. Salud!

  38. If the Texas curriculum is so bad and Texas’s mandated pedagogy (to the extent it exists) is so bad, then how is it they do as well as other tests on a low stakes federal exam as blue states that presumably use more enlightened methods and curriculum?

  39. mepo,

    I knew there was a reason I liked you…we agree on so many things…Atwater at his best was the most likable vile person that ever existed in the political spectrum….but death does bring one to ones knees…especially if they have lived the life that he did….

    Ken lay on the other hand….I believe was taken down by a government operative that did not want the inside deals exposed for what it was…kinda like that dead guy in DC and Foster was him name…oh…. it happens to the best of em at some point and the powers that be feel that they are weak…not that any of this stuff happened in the LBJ days….lets just say if the press had been as powerful then as it was when LBJ was around….he’d be indicted or you’d be dead…was Hoover dead by the time Nixon was in all of that trouble? I think Hoover died in 72 or so and Nixon resigned in 74….

    You are probably aware that it is thought that Hoover was part black….I wonder if that could explain his passions…for suppression…

  40. OS,

    Spot on in re testing and ecological validity.

    Also, were you referring to Eliza (the computer program) earlier?

  41. Yes, I was referring to Eliza, which was based on the communication skill model pioneered by Carl Rogers. It managed to fool even skilled therapy professors. Those same professors were quick to dismiss the computer responses as mindless and automated (a correct analysis) but failed to recognize the potential. Game designers did see the potential, and the rest is history.

    Speaking of mindless automatons, did you notice the last response by our current resident Eliza? That is a perfect example of what we are talking about.

  42. OS,

    Back in the day, I had a copy of Eliza. I got it as part of my high school’s advanced placement computer science class. Interesting bit of programming that. It wasn’t written in the original SLIP, but rather in LISP. I spent many hours playing with Eliza and poking around her code. Good times. :mrgreen:

  43. AY:

    ” I knew there was a reason I liked you…we agree on so many things”


    While reasonable people can differ, on the fundamental issues, they rarely do. Right back at you there AY

  44. Pete,

    Are you suggesting that Hillary….our SOS…would have a demon for power…no I am not talking about Bill….lol

  45. Jonathan,

    I am glad I read your column ” Should we care about Casey Anthony”, because I thought I was in the minority. Now that I see that an informed and an intelectual person thinks the way I do, it is very comforting to me. As much as I dislike this Casey Girl, the case for death penalty was not proven beyond the reasonable doubt, therefore she should get life in prison.

    I also agree with you that Tabloid TV is anathema to justice. As a constitutional scholar I know that you cannot recommend banishing those shows off the air. A blog like yours help indentify trashy shows like Nance Grace. Please keep up with your blogs. I love to learn from brilliant persons like you.

  46. Go to and sign petitions to force government to:
    1.) enact Caylee’s Law (requires parents to report missing children with 24 hours and keep Casey and jurors from profiting from her crime.)
    2.) keep Casey Anthony from being able to profit off the death of her child; which most people believe she was involved with

  47. All laws enacted to soother public outrage are bad laws that usually have unintended negative consequences. The emotional soothing of inflamed members of the public by passing ill-conceived laws is an anathema to constructively running a government.

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