Saturday Reads: I got this one…

Happy Birthday BB...

Happy Birthday BB…

Good Morning!

Wow, WordPress had another one of those updates…, as I write this post with all sorts of new WP features and editing changes, no wonder the site was so damn slow yesterday.

As you can see, it is someone’s birthday today, Happy Birthday Boston Boomer. Hope you enjoy your special day.

Just a few quick links this morning.

I know that BB is fond of crime stories, so she may find this post thought-provoking. How I Changed My Mind About the Jeffrey MacDonald Murder Case

Remember the perceptual illusion where you look at a picture and you’re certain that you see the bust of a young woman? Then, if someone draws your attention to certain details, suddenly the picture transforms into the profile of an old woman. It’s a disorienting trick. You think you know what you’re seeing, but then you aren’t so sure.

The Jeffrey MacDonald murder case is one of the most disturbing in living memory. There are only two possible pictures, both nightmares.

Picture #1. Jeffrey MacDonald, a Princeton-educated Green Beret doctor with no history of violence and a sterling record, butchered his pregnant wife and two young daughters using a knife, ice pick and club. Then he injured himself and set up the scene to make the crimes appear to be the work of intruders. He claimed they chanted, “Kill the pigs!…Acid is groovy!” and scrawled the word “PIG” on the wall in his wife’s blood.

Picture #2. Jeffrey MacDonald, a bright young man with everything in life to look forward to, lost his wife and children to senseless, horrific violence. A military hearing found charges against him “untrue,” but he was convicted nine years later in a civilian trial. He has been imprisoned for three decades for a crime he did not commit.

Two possibilities: MacDonald is a monster, or he is a victim of terrible injustice. Young woman; old woman.

I can relate to Parramore’s article because I too was born in spring of 1970…and I also was fascinated with the TV miniseries and book Fatal Vision.  However, I don’t know if I could be so moved by the possible “revelations” to completely change my mind about guilt. I do get the fact that there was definitely enough “reasonable doubt” in this case, and I can understand the thought processes of questioning the jury’s decision and the judge’s subsequent sentencing…but it does not make me any less certain that there is something sinister about MacDonald. Creepy yes…reasonable doubt, fair enough. All I need to say is two words: Casey Anthony.

On the science front, this next article is just plain cool, or as Dakinikat would say…kewl. Researchers synthesize new kind of silk fiber, and use music to fine-tune material’s properties

This diagram of the molecular structure of one of the artificially produced versions of spider silk depicts one that turned out to form strong, well-linked fibers. A different structure, made using a variation of the same methods, was not able to form into the long fibers needed to make it useful. Musical compositions based on the two structures helped to show how they differed. (Credit: Markus Buehler)
Pound for pound, spider silk is one of the strongest materials known: Research by MIT’s Markus Buehler has helped explain that this strength arises from silk’s unusual hierarchical arrangement of protein building blocks.Now Buehler — together with David Kaplan of Tufts University and Joyce Wong of Boston University — has synthesized new variants on silk’s natural structure, and found a method for making further improvements in the synthetic material.And an ear for music, it turns out, might be a key to making those structural improvements.The work stems from a collaboration of civil and environmental engineers, mathematicians, biomedical engineers and musical composers.

“We’re trying to approach making materials in a different way,” Buehler explains, “starting from the building blocks” — in this case, the protein molecules that form the structure of silk. “It’s very hard to do this; proteins are very complex.”

I know that Dak has perfect pitch, I know that someone else does too but can’t seem to remember if it was Fannie or Beata…in my defense I have had no coffee this morning, I know that is a lame excuse, I am so sorry. Please help me out and remind me in the comments who it was that also has perfect pitch among us. 😉

And lastly, here is an update on a story I shared with you earlier this year. Squadron of ‘lost’ spitfires could be flying again in three years

A lost squadron of Spitfires buried in Burma after the Second World War could be flying again within three years, experts said today.

A Mk 1 Spitfire Photo: Paul Grover

Archaeologists will begin digging for the historic hoard of at least 36 British fighter planes in January.

A proportion of the aircraft will then be carefully packaged and brought back to the UK next spring, where they will be restored.

David Cundall, a farmer and aviation enthusiast from Scunthorpe, Lincs, has spent 16 years researching the project after being told about the burial by a group of US veterans.

273 Squadron was stationed near Rangoon during WWII where the Spitfires were supposedly buried

It was his tenacity and perseverance and his “obsession to find and restore an incredible piece of British history” that will finally see a team begin digging in the New Year.

Enjoy your Saturday!

This is an open thread.

44 Comments on “Saturday Reads: I got this one…”

  1. Maybe it was Joanelle? Eek, please let me know!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Wow! What a nice birthday surprise! Thank you so much, JJ.

    I had a few links for this morning and one was the Jeffrey MacDonald article you included. I don’t buy it at all. I still think MacDonald is guilty.

    Joe McGinnis is still convinced, and remember he spent a great deal of time with MacDonald while writing his book. He started out thinking MacDonald was innocent and gradually changed his mind. The author of the new book, Errol Morris, barely even met MacDonald.

    The supposed new “DNA” evidence consists of three hairs with no roots. They could have come from investigators or have been picked up somewhere and adhered the the victims’ clothing.

    We also know now that statistically, the most common cause of death for pregnant women is murder by their husbands or boyfriends.

    I’m kind of tempted to reread Fatal Vision though.

    • dakinikat says:

      Happy Birthday!

    • mjames says:

      I believe McGinnis’s publisher wound up paying in a civil suit. McGinnis’s reputation is in the tank now. (I couldn’t get the link to alternet to work so I’ll try again later.) TalkLeft had MacDonald’s wife answer questions a while back. I asked her several questions that really bothered me, and she gave me very good responses. I don’t know if you can find that entry in Jeralyn’s archives, but it was quite eye-opening.

      I too read Fatal Vision and watched the TV movie. I too thought he was guilty. Absolutely convinced. But I also thought the Central Park jogger was assaulted by the kids who were convicted, and I was a NYC public defender at the time! I was dead wrong. DNA proved me wrong – and a confession by the real perp. (Linda Fairstein was the POS prosecutor, awful what she did.)

      Now, I no longer think MacDonald’s guilty. Statistics and creepy feelings do not equal guilt. I know you know that, but IMO McGinnis wrote a hatchet job. We didn’t know that at the time, but we do now. Also, I now think there are so many innocent people in prison that it would be mind-boggling if we knew the true numbers. (Barry Scheck, a centuries-ago law professor of mine – criminal appeals, was instrumental in starting the Innocence Project, which at least has brought some awareness to this problem.)

      And, on a cheerier note, Happy Birthday. Mine was last Sunday, so that makes us Sagittarius compatriots! (I’m sure you’ll agree it’s the BEST sign evah.)

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m not basing anything on statistics and creepy feelings, and I disagree that McGinnis’ book is a hatchet job. Any damage McGinnis’ reputation is in the eye of the beholder and based on Janet Malcolm’s hatchet job. She attacked Jeffrey Masson’s book on Freud too. I put no value on anything she writes now, including her reviews.

        Apparently the judge in the latest case thought McGinnis’ work had value, since he was called to testify.

    • Yup, completely agree with you on everything you say BB, MacDonald is where he should be!

    • Ooops, got carried away with the Fatal Vision thing…Happy Birthday BB!

    • Delphyne says:

      Happy Birthday, BB!! Have a fantastic day today!!

    • RalphB says:

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY BB!!!!! May you have a wonderful day and an even better year!

      I’m so late to the game today 🙂

    • janicen says:

      Happy Birthday bb!!

    • NW Luna says:

      Belated but sincere wishes for a Happy Birthday!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    A couple more links.

    Man Faces Death Threats and Jail for Pointing Out That Weeping Jesus “Miracle” Is Just Faulty Plumbing

    ‘Fatal Vision’ author testifies that Jeffrey MacDonald conned him

    • List of X says:

      I did not know you could go to jail in India for exposing the truth about the trickle-down effect 🙂
      And happy birthday to you!

    • affinis says:

      “‘Fatal Vision’ author testifies that Jeffrey MacDonald conned him”
      He’s not the only one. The proprietor of “” would agree. :
      “Two wonderful gifted prosecutors James Blackburn and Brian Murtaugh told us and convinced a jury of twelve beyond a reasonable doubt that indeed if they proved that Jeffrey MacDonald did kill his family they did not have to explain why he had killed them. It was the right verdict, but at the time I chose to doubt his guilt. It is impossible to clearly enunciate my reasons save that I am a strong proponent of the phrase beyond a reasonable doubt and possibly I preferred believing that evil wore a face more like Charles Manson’s then the one of every man that Jeffrey MacDonald presented. At the time when I hoped that he was innocent, I hand wrote a letter to him asking if we could discuss the case. The letter has since been typed and my words altered and posted on his website. It is not even the complete letter. The letter was written years ago and does not indicate a date. Posting an altered letter on the website, cherry picking bits and pieces of any document or letter is misleading, and using my name is a clear example of the lengths they will go to. My name anywhere on their website is hysterical considering that I will stop at nothing to tell the world he is guilty of murdering his pregnant wife, Colette, and his two defenseless little girls. Most notable on the website is that none of the letters of ‘support’ are dated. It could just be that all of the past “supporters” have learned the painful truth.”

      You probably are aware of this – but MacDonald even called his inlaws claiming to have tracked down and killed one of the supposed hippie assailants.

      timemark 1:40-2:14

      • bostonboomer says:

        It isn’t necessary to prove motive, but isn’t it fairly obvious? Especially after we have seen case after case of cheating husbands who kill their pregnant wives. The people who have been conned by this psychopath are fools who aren’t willing to do the minimal work it would take them to simply read the court records. MacDonald has already had appeals. There’s no new evidence. This latest evidentiary hear will be the same as the others.

  4. Pat Johnson says:

    Happy “39th” Birthday, bb!!!

    Jeffrey McDonald is exactly where he should be: in prison for the rest of his life.

    Those “strands” of synthetic hair they have been using as an excuse that “intruders” killed his family were once traced back to a doll one of the little girls had in her room.

    He murdered his family in a rage of frustration at his wife’s third pregnancy and the supposition is that it occurred when one of the little girls had wet the marital bed that night that sent him into a frenzy. And he almost got away with it for 8 years but for the persistence of his in laws who came to believe that only he was responsible.

    The fact that he then went into the bedroom of the sleeping 2 year old and slaughtered her in order to make the crime scene look as if it were carried out by “strangers” looking for drugs brought about the charge of first degree murder in her case. This in alone demonstrated a “cold blooded” action.

    The man is a “monster” when viewed from that perspective. It showed a calculating mind that would “free” him from the bonds of a restricted family life that he had strayed from over the course of his marriage.

    McGinnis originally set out to write a book about a falsely accused man and eventually came to the belief – rightly so – that Jeffrey McDonald murdered his pregnant wife and two daughters then invented a scenario to hide his guilt.

    But for the efforts of his in laws he may very well have succeeded.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Pat, where have you been? I was about to send out a search party! Thanks for the birthday wishes too.

      MacDonald had only superficial injuries and the house showed no signs of a struggle according to the first investigator on the scene. Any attacker certainly would have killed the strongest person there first. MacDonald could have fought back with his minor injuries.

      Just kidding, sort of, but the most suspicious thing about MacDonald’s story was the way he made the “hippies” talk. Pathetic.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Took some time off from the day before Thanksgiving until yesterday. Was house sitting, visiting friends, etc., for 9 days and it felt wonderful!

        Only problem is that I am so far behind in my blog reading since I virtually “shut down and shut out” the news during the interim.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I’m glad you enjoyed yourself. It sounds really peaceful.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        It was wonderful: walks in the woods, pigging out to my heart’s content, catching up with old friends. No chores, no cooking, no stress.

        But – I am sure you wlll agree – there is no place like your own bed which I fell into yesterday with a great sense of relief.

        Glad to be home but the time away was fabulous!

      • dakinikat says:

        Yup. We were discussing your absence yesterday on the phone, Pat.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Really? I’m flattered to say the least.

        Away from the internet, cable, and outside intrusions, it was a welcome relief. But on the other hand it is also nice to be back within one’s own surroundings and habits to be honest. One can only be a “wanderer” for so long.

        And I missed the latest Lohan arrest for crying out loud!!

  5. Boo Radly says:

    Happy B’day BB!! Wishing you a delightful day.

  6. prolixous says:

    Happy birthday BB — may you have twice as many more plus 50 for good measure.

  7. RalphB says:

    Gail Collins has a good time with the Obama and Romney lunch.

    Mitt’s Oval Office Moment

    “They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future,” said the official report. “Their lunch menu included white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad.”

    You’d think they could have served meat loaf. Mitt’s favorite food is meat loaf. Also, Mitt loves practical jokes, and if Obama had really wanted to get in the spirit of things, he could have had Romney arrested by the Capitol Police in the lobby.

  8. RalphB says:

    Dave Weigel has a really nice riff off this funky movie.

    Friday Distraction: “The Queen of Versailles”

    This put me in the right mood for The Queen of Versailles. Other Slatesters have discussed the movie, but it’s now on video and shipping via Netflix, and it’s extraordinary. You can describe the plot in 20 seconds: David Siegel and his wife Jackie are building the largest house in America, until David’s time-share empire collapses and they run out of money. That description makes it sound like a funny-goofy VH1 special. The movie’s really about the causes of the crisis, and the growing gap between the elites and underclass, and how little our current conversation has to do with that stuff.

    It kicks off a bizarro sequel to Grey Gardens. This movie would not exist unless the guileless Siegels thought that the world would want to learn about their tacky mega-home. (“This is your room?” asks one of Jackie’s friends as she gets a tour of the cavernous, unfinished building. “No, that’s my closet!” says Jackie.) David, a doughy septuagenerian, lets cameras film him strolling around without a shirt, and brags that he, personally, elected George W. Bush. Jackie, a former model (a “Mrs. Florida,” not “Miss Florida”), has the sort of spray-tanned, breast-implant-carrying physique that makes you understand how Jill Kelley could become a Florida socialite.