April 10, 2013

Alyce in Juanderland

Alyce-LaViolette 2Click here to read complete article over at AllVoices.com

Excerpt:

LaViolette has struggled with answering the prosecutor’s questions since cross examination began last Thursday, not because the questions are particularly hard to answer, but because she has this unrelenting need to predict where Martinez is going with his line of questioning before she responds. Thus, their exchanges resemble the following:

Martinez: Is the sky blue?

LaViolette: ::leans forward and squints:: I am not sure what you mean by that.

Martinez: It’s a simple “yes” or “no” question.

LaViolette: ::furrows eyebrows:: I can’t answer that question “yes” or “no” Mr. Martinez.

Martinez: Well, when you look up at the sky, it appears as if it is blue, correct?

LaViolette: ::slow smile:: Well, I guess if you want me to say that the sky is blue, the sky is blue.

Martinez: I want to know what you think about the sky’s hue.

LaViolette: ::exasperated:: I don’t really know how you want me to answer this question, Mr. Martinez. I like to look at the big picture. Why is the sky blue? What causes it to appear blue to the naked eye? Is it really blue, because it looks almost black when the sun goes down, doesn’t it? Sometimes there are stars in the sky when it’s dark, but are they always there? What about on cloudy nights? Why can’t we see them when the sun is up? Then there is that whole thing about the reflection of light and the prism of colors and how the molecules break down and all of that hooha. I mean, I am not an expert on astronomy, Mr. Martinez, and there are many other factors that I would need to take into consideration before I can give you an answer.

Martinez: Are you done?

LaViolette: You need a timeout.

The above is only a slight exaggeration.

April 7, 2013

Why Travis Alexander being a …. Doesn’t Matter

For a while now, I have been wanting to write about why the fact that Travis Alexander wasn’t the perfect gentleman doesn’t matter and this blog post inspired me to go ahead and do it.

Exerpt:

I suppose prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez is planning to use domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette’s remarks about “Snow White” and domestic violence as a way to call her a man-hating bitch in a desperate attempt to try and salvage his murder one case. It might also be he is going through the motions of a cross-examination knowing the murder one charge was lost a long time ago, with the introduction of the phone sex tape and text messages by the defense. What I cannot understand is why people can’t seem to believe that Jodi Arias was an abused woman. No, most abused women don’t kill their abusers, but one of the major reasons women are incarcerated for murder is because of domestic violence situations. ALL of the evidence in this trial points to domestic abuse. ALL of it. Does that mean Travis Alexander deserved to die in such a hideous manner? No, but his treatment of Jodi, confirmed through the documentary record, give us an understanding why she felt desperate enough to do what she did.

The thing that strikes me most about this post is just how much it reminds me of a time when a murdered or raped woman’s character was put on display in order to make the jury question the actions of the victim versus the actions of the culprit. What was she wearing? Was she sleeping around? Was she a bitch?  Maybe she deserved it. Remember the heat Bill O’Reilly took for suggesting that a young murder victim was partially to blame for being raped and murdered? (Interestingly enough, Alyce LaViolette spoke about this brand of victim-blame while on the stand. Perhaps victim-blaming/shaming is only wrong when it comes to women.)

There seems to be a mentality among a significant segment of the population that, if a victim isn’t all unicorns and sunshine or if they make wrong decisions (like jogging a wooded trail alone or leaving their bedroom window open), they deserved their fate. It doesn’t always manifest itself in the same way, however. For instance, people who feel that Travis Alexander had it coming may not be (and are probably not) the same people who agree that a young rape and murder victim played a part in her own demise; but, their mentality is very much the same in that they both hold the victims accountable in some way.

The individual who “penned” the blog post that sparked my own blog entry asked why people find it hard to believe that Arias was a survivor of abuse. I think the phrase she is looking for there is “no credibility.” Jodi Arias’s “credibility bank” is not only empty, but it’s overdrawn. This leaves us with examining independent evidence such as those emails and text messages. The problem with that is that people have different ways of reading things. When I read Alexander’s text messages, it comes across as someone who is reacting to another’s action. When he went off about her leaving an item behind, it comes across as a pattern that he is fed up with. He clearly finds her to be a manipulative individual. Also telling is that when LaViolette pointed to the way that Alexander spoke to other women, those interactions were mostly about his sexually flirtatious nature, which made the Mormon women he was talking to uncomfortable. None of it had to do with him calling them outside of their names or things like “sociopath.”

So the question is, would it have been best if Travis had just ignored Arias altogether? Yes, but just like LaViolette says that women stay involved in bad/abusive relationships for their own emotional reasons, the same thing can happen with men. Men DO stay in toxic relationships with abusive, obsessive, and jealous women all of the time. Men also do not tend to take women seriously when they are stalking them. In example, a recent episode of Dr. Phil featured a young woman who was seeking help due to her being obsessed with a guy she had broken up with. The guy in that case would also talk to and see her, even with knowing how obsessed she was. People don’t always make the best decisions.

While I feel like LaViolette’s testimony highlights gender inequalities that negatively impact men, that is not the primary reason I feel that Travis being a …. doesn’t matter. It’s because it doesn’t “undo” other facts in the case.

My original response to Susan’s blog entry:

Travis Alexander was not the perfect murder victim. He did have a load of problems – but so did Jodi Arias. This is evident from the fact that even her own parents weren’t shocked that she was being considered for the murder. Jodi was a strange person. Jodi had mental problems. Jodi flipped out on her mother. Jodi would hit her mother for no reason. Jodi treated her mother like crap. Jodi would be fine one minute and crying hysterically the next. Jodi was obsessed with Travis. Jodi climbed through Travis’s doggy door. Jodi was found hiding in Travis’s closet.

Jodi was 1000 miles away and did not have to go to AZ. She had full control over that action, but she went because she was obsessed with Travis and the only thing that would end that obsession was him no longer breathing. For all of this talk about Travis being afraid of losing Jodi, where was the evidence of him pursuing her? He was scheduled to visit her in CA, wasn’t he? Didn’t he cancel that? That isn’t the hallmark of a man who doesn’t want to let go. Talk to REAL female DV victims. The man always goes to the woman to get her back. Always. Nowhere in those texts does Travis ask Jodi back. To the contrary, he states that he’s glad to be moving on and had plans to go out of the country with another woman.

I also find it interesting that you say that “all of the evidence” points to domestic violence. Intriguing. What about a gun of the same caliber being “stolen” from Arias’s home days prior to Alexander being killed points to DV? What about not telling anyone she was heading to AZ sounds like DV? What about her making sure that there were no records of her in AZ sounds like DV? What about dying her hair on the trip down sounds like DV? What about borrowing and buying gas cans so that there are no records of her buying gas in AZ sounds like DV? What about anything she did to cover up the crime after the fact sounds like DV?

When her mother asked her if she was in AZ, Arias’s response was that she had gas receipts to prove that she wasn’t. How many people, who aren’t business owners or on business trips, care about saving gas receipts? Consider that she had a well traceable paper trail before and after her trip to AZ. She used credit cards everywhere else, and conveniently her phone is dead/off the entire time she is there. How does any of that EVIDENCE not sound like premeditation? If this were a man being accused of killing an ex-girlfriend, would you see this evidence as anything other than what it is?

Finally, her explanation of how the crime happened is entirely improbable. How she managed to take on a man 1 on 1 and only walk away with some small cuts (if you buy her story) and a bruised head that she has no evidence of, is remarkable when you consider the damage to Travis’s body. Not to mention that the ME’s findings state that Travis was shot last. She wants us to believe that she “came to” in the desert with her hands covered in blood and barefoot, when no blood was found on any doorknobs. She also wants us to believe that she had to stop for gas on the way out of the state, and since she didn’t use any credit cards, she had to pay cash. A barefoot woman covered in blood certainly would have stood out, don’t you think?

I have seen cases with far less evidence result in murder 1 convictions. If Arias gets anything less than that, it will be because she is a woman who killed a man, and not vice versa. Look at the Scott Peterson trial – case was entirely circumstantial, but it’s OK to use common sense when convicting men. With women, many people want a Point A to Point Z road map with every alphabet in between covered.

And that’s why Travis being a …. doesn’t matter.

April 5, 2013

Jodi Arias, Snow White, and Battered Women

Alyce-LaViolette 2The Jodi Arias Trial

This week, domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette was back on the stand for the defense testifying as to why she believes that Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander were engaged in a domestically abusive relationship. LaViolette painted a picture of an almost virginal and naïve Arias who wrote lovingly about Alexander in her journals only to be rewarded with abusive verbal tirades, insidious psychological cruelty, and brutal physical violence. She labeled Jodi Arias a battered woman.

Much of this week’s testimony verged on redundant; with Jennifer Wilmott questioning LaViolette on the nature of the abuse she believes took place between Arias and Alexander. LaViolette testified about the physical abuse Arias allegedly suffered at the hands of Alexander, including the occasions Arias says Alexander broke her finger and choked her. She also went over several text messages and emails, stating that the language Alexander used towards Arias amounted to character assassination. LaViolette spoke of other women Travis was involved with and pointed to signs of his manipulative ploys and desire to control women. She stated that one of the women Alexander corresponded with was vulnerable because she was married. (Continue Reading)

April 2, 2013

The Psychology of Jodi: Madwoman or Abuse Survivor?

Jodi Arias smiles in her mugshot after being arrested for brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Jodi Arias smiles in her mugshot after being arrested for brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

With taking the stand, Jodi Arias gave the world a rare glimpse into the mind of a suspected sociopath. Spending 18 days on the stand, Arias walked the jury through the details of her life with Travis Alexander, the man she is accused of murdering in cold, premeditated, blood.

During her time on the stand, Arias explained to the jury how she and Alexander first met, how she broke up with her boyfriend of four years after knowing Alexander for only a week, and divulged more details about anal sex than many people care to hear about outside of (and in) their own bedrooms. Arias spent weeks weaving a tale of a rocky and contentious relationship fueled by allegations of abuse, jealousy, forbidden sex, and the spiritual contradictions it all caused within their Mormon faith. The height of Arias’s testimony centered on her version of the events that unfolded on June 4th, 2008. Details became murky when she hit a mental “fog” that rendered her incapable of recalling anything other than shooting Alexander in the face. According to her, she has no memory of stabbing him 29 times and slashing his throat.

When it comes to someone like Jodi Arias, it is easy to throw around the word “sociopath.” She has shown little remorse for ending Alexander’s life, her affect is often blank and empty, her eyes are dark and cold, she is inappropriately vain and she has told so many self-serving lies that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. But, is she a sociopath? Can an online checklist really give us a true and accurate depiction of the psychology of Jodi? (Click here to read entire article.)

April 1, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial: Expert Witnesses for the Defense

Jodi AriasJodi Arias Trial: Expert Witnesses for the Defense

As we enter the fourth month of the Jodi Arias trial, the nation could not be more riveted. Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander on June 4th, 2008. The prosecution has maintained that Arias is guilty of premeditated murder and is seeking the death penalty. Arias is claiming self defense and that she had no choice but to brutally murder Travis that day, inflicting 29 stab wounds, slashing his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him once in the face.

For months now, spectators have been drawn into the World of Jodi where sex, lies and audiotape has been on full display. Most recently, the defense has put forth experts to try to explain away Arias’s odd behavior after the crime and why she has no complete memories of what took place during and directly after the murder. (continue reading)

November 11, 2012

A Liberal’s Advice to the Republican Party

As a liberal, I believe that our country is better served when we have two parties who are willing to compromise on things that will make things better for the country. We aren’t best serve when only one voice or ideal prevails.

So here is my advice:

The Economy

Let go of your trickle down economic theory. It hasn’t worked. No matter how much you want to deny that republicans have had a lot to do with the shape of our economy, starting with Reaganonics, you will eventually have to open your eyes. Democratic economic policy has not been perfect, but President Bush had 8 years to change anything about the Clinton years that he felt didn’t work. Instead he lowered taxes during wartime. That has never happened in the history of the United States. That is not fiscal responsibility. If you want people to take conservatives seriously when it comes to being a fiscal conservative, this means you have to BE a fiscally responsible conservative. This means that, while you are talking about cutting programs to the poor and working class, you HAVE to talk about cutting programs to the rich. You can’t have this kind of hypocrisy hanging over your head or people won’t believe you when you say that you are fiscally conservative and won’t see any point in voting for you. If you say you are for small government, be a small government party. Big business subsidies/corporate welfare has to be cut as well.

Social Issues

You need to let go of the social issues. Independents won’t vote for you if you continue to scare them with people like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. There are just not enough Christian fundamentalists left to make up for the people who you lose when you start talking about “legitimate rape,” abortion and denying gay rights. I am not saying vote for programs that you disagree with. I am saying drop the issue. No more talking about repealing Roe vs Wade and no more obstructing gay marriage. You and your leaders can just not show up for the votes if that’s what needs to happen. Not regulating who one marries, and what women do with their body is very much in line with the ideals of “small government.”

Diversity

You party has to figure out a way to be more inclusive. Being inclusive does not mean getting a handful of minorities and pushing them out in front anytime someone asks you where all of the black/Asian/Latino people are. Being inclusive means recognizing the challenges that these demographics face and addressing them. Make them feel welcome in your party. Talk to them. Stop ignoring them.

Note: If the first thing you thought about when you read the above is, “You mean tell them they will get free stuff,” you still don’t get it and your party is doomed.

Be Nice

Finally, stop demonizing the electorate. If someone has to apply for food stamps because they lost their job and/or cannot find work, or receive welfare because they are so far below the poverty line they have no other options, it doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person. People who are actually compassionate, and know how to empathize, don’t like to hear people who are down on their luck being lambasted. They can put themselves into their shoes and imagine what it would be like if they lost their job and had no way to feed their children. This is called empathy.  The fact of the matter is that only 4% of the country receives welfare and 15% receive food stamps. 50% of the country voted for President Obama. People weren’t voting for “free stuff,” because 50% of the country doesn’t receive “free stuff.” Romney himself pointed to these programs as being in place for poor people when he was saying that he doesn’t worry about them. (Bad move, by the way.)

I know the odds of republicans actually taking this advice is slim to none, but I just wanted to put that out there because I don’t think that all TRUE conservative ideals are bad. They are just buried beneath all of the bullshit that the conservative media distracts the public with. And today, the new fear is that the democrats want to get rid of term limits in order for President Obama to have a 3rd term. This is something that will N E V E R happen because liberals wouldn’t go for it, neither would democrats. Sadly,the right is already scaring its base with this. I beg you conservatives, don’t let them do this to you. Reject it and demand better. The future of your party depends on it.

 

September 19, 2012

The American People are Orc Peons

Do you all know those on-line games where you can build an entire town up by just clicking on your “workers” and telling them what to do? They run off and the build structures as we sit back and “manage” our resources as we work through the game. We watch our  little workers go and build up our town for measly amounts of gold; and by the end of the game we have like a trillion gold pieces in the bank and we are sitting there flexing like, “YES I’M THE ISHNITZZZ!!” ::coughs::  Anyway…

… I think that is how people like Mitt Romney view average Americans. We are just mere plebs that they control in order to stack and hoard their gold… er, cash. They have created a system where we are always indebted in one way or another by way of school loans, mortgages, medical bills, and credit cards. They then claim that they cannot afford to pay their workers more, but in the meanwhile, they are taking home multi-million dollar bonuses every year – and each year those bonuses increase, even while we are sitting in a bad economy.

People like Romney just do not have the capacity to empathize with people who aren’t well off. It would be like me sitting back, looking at my little orc peon in Warcraft and wondering if he is making enough to take care of all of the little orcses back at home. We are the equivalent of computer pixels in the minds of the corporatists who hold office.

When Mitt Romney says that it isn’t his job to worry about “those people,” when he says that he doesn’t worry about poor people, he means it.

#JustSaying

 

September 14, 2012

Mitt Romney Hugged by a…. Commoner??

Mitt Romney often looks as if he is uncomfortable around regular, everyday people. His grins tend to resemble that of a grimace. What would happen if a voter gave him a big bear hug, and swept him from his feet???

September 6, 2012

Republican Envy

The poor, bald, republican talking head on MSNBC (I don’t know his name) said last night, “I wish that our guys had someone who could do that… but, we don’t…” Awww. Poor guy!

 

What President Clinton did last night, and what the majority of the democrats who have given speeches at the DNC have done, requires HEART and SOUL. Two qualities completely lacking in the republican party. They stood up there, with their smug-filled smirks and entitled attitudes, mocking democrats, mocking the president, but that’s all they have. You can’t run a campaign on hate! Hate is DRAINING on the heart, it’s DRAINING on the soul.
Republicans can hardly muster up any excitement for their presidential candidate, (speakers at the DNC mentioned President Obama more in ONE NIGHT than the republicans mentioned Romney during their ENTIRE convention) and they definitely can’t gather around their previous president. If the way republicans have done things in the past works so well, they would have been able to trot out GWB & Co – but did they? Nope. Instead it’s, “Let’s pretend that they don’t exist – maybe people will forget.” Maybe their devout base is willing to overlook the fact that their policies haven’t worked – If they did would we be in this mess? But, the rest of us don’t have that mental defect. We DO remember and we WILL be voting OBAMA/Biden 2012!

August 20, 2012

Todd Akin On Abortion: ‘Legitimate Rape’ Victims Have ‘Ways To Try To Shut That Whole Thing Down’ (VIDEO)


How much of this mentality is part of the fabric that makes up the Christian Right? I think that, deep down, they feel like these women deserve to suffer through the indignity of carrying a rapist’s child to term. After all, they had to have done something to deserve it. Perhaps, it’s a punishment from God, himself?

I try hard to respect people and their choice of religion, but oftentimes I feel that religion is why we end up with people like this, telling women that they must have a baby, even if it is conceived entirely against their will. He believes so strongly against a woman’s reproductive rights that he would even he get rid of morning after pills, something that would prevent the woman from becoming pregnant in the first place. We need less people like him in positions of power.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost