Sunday, November 30, 2008

Four the Holiday

Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death - After a sleepless night, As Good As News has decided to address this topic, a quick-sand of potential bad taste. First, our belief that the Internet was created by God to eliminate in-person shopping is affirmed. Second, if you are overwhelmed by an irresistible impulse to wake up at 3AM on Black Friday, a name that works on just so many levels, do not, repeat, do not under any circumstances, select a shopping destination which leaves outdoor crowd control to local police using bullhorns and allows the patrons awaiting entry to organize themselves by fighting toward the head of the line - a destination marked only by the hand made sign "Blitz line starts here".

Disguised Mother Woos Juror in Bid to Free Son - Three years ago John Giuca and another man were convicted of killing Mark Fisher in a case celebrated partly because the victim was a popular college athlete and partly because he had no prior connection to his killers, showing up at their party as a friend of a friend. Giuca hosted the party, but no physical evidence linked him to the crime. He was convicted based on the inconsistent testimony of four witnesses, none of whom was a paragon of integrity. Giuca's mother, Doreen Giuliano, campaigned to free her son, but got nowhere. Finally she took matters into her own hands. Ms Giuliano hit the gym, found the perfect push-up bra and became a golden blonde, transforming herself into Dee Quinn (her maiden name) - a modern day Mata Harri. After false starts with two other jurors (false start, stalking - just semantics really), she established a relationship with James Allo, a juror in her son's case. Eventually, she claims, Allo admitted that he had a prior acquaintance with some of the witnesses, an acquaintance he lied about during jury selection. Allo now denies this, although Dee Quinn taped all.

First, Ms Giuliano/Quinn may be disappointed. It's extremely difficult to overturn a jury verdict, as today's follow-up story notes.

Second, Mr. Giuliano wants to know why it took a son's murder conviction for his wife to turn herself into a hotty. The couple also seems to have some fundamental disagreement over just how far she would go to get the goods on the jurors. Her own story on the relationship with Allo seems a little confused on this point - but it was all in a worthy cause (at least from a mother's perspective) so As Good As News won't pick at that scab any further.

Third, read Christopher Ketcham in Vanity Fair on-line. This is the new, new journalism, let's call it Lifetime Journalism - a made for TV movie, written from the perspective of an insider, who had a completed screenplay ready to roll when the story broke. As Good As News suspects Mr. Ketcham helped Ms Giuliano select the latest taping equipment and the push-up bra to hide it. He probably consulted on her hair color and he may even have sat in as her personal trainer. Mr. Ketcham seems to be the Henry Higgins to Giuliano/Quinn's Liza Doolittle, not just covering the story after the fact, but helping to plot the action in real time.

Corzine Pays $362,500 To End A Dispute - Not quite. The New Jersey Governor has paid millions to his exgirlfriend, labor lobbyist Carla Katz. He's waged war to keep their e-mails secret, even though she dealt with the State as a lobbyist and not just as the first squeeze. Now he's paying $362,500 to "end a dispute." Think about this. You tell your girl friend's brother-in-law that you will try to find a job for him. You make a few calls, but it doesn't work out. He grumbles so you pay him $362,500 to "end the dispute". This smells like hush money. It makes the $millions paid to Carla and the e-mail disclosure war even smellier by association. What are you hiding Gov? By the way, it's good you noticed early on that NJ has a budget crisis and it's good you are inventively trying to come up with funds. Now stop pay to play and its variations, many run by your closest supporters and pals. The grease of political contributions and favors for favors that seems to lubricate every government operation in NJ makes everything twice as expensive as it should be. You can't fix it unless and until you are willing to get ugly with the Democratic leadership, or maybe just give out some nice retirement packages to the party's leading fixers (using your personal funds) to "end a dispute" before it begins.

You're Leaving a Digital Trail. What About Privacy? - 100 MIT students agree to participate in a study. Researchers will track their every move. The up-side? The students get a free smart phone and assurances that data will be treated confidentially. Why not, says freshman Harrison Brown, with Facebook, e-mail and blogs this extra intrusion is just "a drop in the bucket." Makes sense to As Good As News. The data might be helpful to the school and ultimately the students. So what? The story reminded me of an interesting fact, where else, but MIT, would a dormitory be named Random Hall.

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