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Posts Tagged ‘death’

LA Times – Amy Winehouse found dead at home; singer was 27

Posted by 4love2love on July 24, 2011

July 23, 2011 | 12:30 pm
Amy Winehouse is dead at 27

Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her northern London home, according to London police and ambulance crews who responded to the scene around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Though police confirmed that a 27-year-old woman had been found dead in Camden, they did not offer a cause of death for the soulful, bluesy singer whose father said only days ago that despite going through some rough stuff, “the last few weeks she’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Winehouse, whose second album, “Back to Black,” featured the hit “Rehab” and earned her five Grammys in 2008, had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, recently canceling a European tour after being booed off the stage in Serbia.

Her father Mitch Winehouse, who started a jazz-singing career only recently, tweeted Thursday that he was off to New York, where he was booked for two Monday shows at the Blue Note. His daughter came to most of his London performances, he’d told the New York Times.

“She always gets up onstage and refuses to rehearse,” Mitch Winehouse said. “So we end up doing a couple of songs which are terrible. We just end up in fits of laughter. Everyone enjoys it because they can see we are enjoying it.

“She’s very, very supportive and she’s a great kid and she’s going through some rough stuff at the moment, but the last few weeks she’s been absolutely fantastic.”

Winehouse had been in and out of rehab over the years, and in and out of a relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, and in court over allegations that she’d assaulted a fan. Winehouse had reportedly been working for years on a third album as well. She had recorded a song for Tony Bennett’s “Duets II,” which is scheduled for release in September, according to Pop & Hiss.

In her 90-minute Serbia set in June, Winehouse had mumbled through songs and occasionally left the stage, leaving her band to cover for her. Shortly before heading out on the road she’d checked herself out of rehab after a week, and her hotel was reportedly stripped of alcohol before the show. After the Belgrade gig, her camp decided that she should head home.

“Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen,” a spokesman said at the time.

Here’s a link to the video for “Tears Dry on their Own,” a Ministry favorite. (How Winehouse of her to include that one well-placed cuss word that prevents us from embedding it. Sigh.)

“I cannot play myself again / I should just be my own best friend.”

RIP Amy Winehouse.

Copyright 2011 Los Angeles Times


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Reuters – Casey Anthony’s attorneys mum on her whereabouts

Posted by 4love2love on July 18, 2011

Main Image

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla | Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:09pm EDT

(Reuters) – An attorney for Casey Anthony would not confirm on Monday whether his client boarded a plane after her swift weekend exit from jail but said “elaborate plans” were required to keep her safe.

Anthony’s whereabouts have been a closely guarded secret since her release early Sunday after nearly three years in custody on charges connected to the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

A Florida jury acquitted Anthony, 25, on July 5 of killing Caylee but convicted her of lying to detectives during the search for the then-missing child. Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008 in woods near the Anthony family home.

Casey Anthony left the Orlando jail just after midnight on Sunday, escorted by attorney Jose Baez and guards wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying rifles.

She stepped into a waiting SUV and quickly eluded the helicopters, media and angry public gathered to witness her anticipated departure.

Her attorneys have been mum about where Anthony went.

“I will not confirm if she boarded a plane or flew on her own,” defense attorney Cheney Mason told NBC’s Today show on Monday.

“She’s gone, she’s safe and elaborate plans had to be made to keep the people away from her.”

Mason said life will be difficult for Anthony “as long as there are so many people of the lynch mob mentality and those willing to deny the fact that the jury found her not guilty (of murder).”

He said Anthony continues to deal with the loss of her child and must adjust psychologically to her newfound freedom.

“In Miss Anthony’s case, it’s going to be even more of an adjustment because she is coming out vilified virtually universally, not just in the Central Florida area but across the country, if not the world,” Anthony’s civil lawyer Charles Greene told the Central Florida News 13 channel.

Greene represents Anthony, who left jail with the $537.68 remaining in her inmate account, in several lawsuits.

A non-profit group seeks to recoup more than $100,000 spent on the search for Caylee, and a Florida woman has accused Anthony of defaming her by claiming a nanny of the same name kidnapped the toddler.

On Friday, a man named David Badali sued Anthony to recover the expenses he incurred as a diver who participated in the search for Caylee.

Attorneys for Anthony and her parents did not return calls from Reuters on Monday morning.

(Additional reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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TruTV – Death In The Family

Posted by 4love2love on July 10, 2011

TruTV has started a story of the play by play of the Anthony case. Little Caylee Anthony, only 2 years old, vanished one day in Florida and no one called to report her missing for over a month. This is page one & two, you can read it for yourself on the’s website, and follow it as the story continues to be documented and translated into the story type re-writing they do, triple checking their facts before publishing them. It helps us see a more explanatory angle from the whole case.

Caylee Anthony


Caylee (right) with her mother Casey Anthony

Caylee (right) with her mother Casey

ORLANDO, Fla. — Casey Anthony waited at least a month before reporting that her daughter Caylee, 2, was missing. And even then, it wasn’t Casey who called the Sheriff’s Office to report that the toddler had been abducted. It was Casey’s mother, Cynthia Anthony.

At 8:44 p.m. on July 15, 2008, Cindy Anthony called Orange County 911. After initially reporting that she wanted her 22-year-old daughter arrested for stealing her car, Cindy told the dispatcher, “I have a 3-year-old that’s missing for a month.” Caylee was then three weeks shy of her third birthday.

The dispatcher sounded shocked when she asked if Cindy had reported the missing baby.

“I’m trying to do that now, ma’am,” Cindy said. She explained to the dispatcher that her daughter had stolen her car and some money and had disappeared four weeks ago. “She’s been missing for a month,” Cindy said. “I found her, but I can’t find my granddaughter.”

Caylee (center) with her grandparents George and Cynthia Anthony.

Caylee (center) with her grandparents
George and Cynthia Anthony.

The dispatcher said she was sending a sheriff’s unit to the Anthony’s house on Hopespring Drive, just outside the city limits of Orlando.

An hour later, Cindy called 911 again. This time she sounded panicked. “There’s something wrong,” she told the dispatcher. “I found my daughter’s car today. It smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car.” Cindy said she had not seen her granddaughter since the middle of June.

The dispatcher asked to speak to Caylee’s mother. Casey got on the line. “My daughter’s been missing for 31 days,” she said. “I know who has her. I’ve tried to contact her.” Casey told the dispatcher she got a call from Caylee earlier that day, but the call only lasted a minute before someone hung up the phone. When she tried to call the number back, Casey said, it was out of service.

Casey claimed her nanny, a woman she identified as Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, whom she said had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, had kidnapped the little girl.

“Why are you calling now?” the incredulous dispatcher asked. “Why didn’t you call 31 days ago?”

“I’ve been looking for her and going through other resources to try to find her, which was stupid,” Casey said.

From the beginning, something about the story didn’t sound right. A young mother waiting an entire month to report that her daughter, not quite 3 years old, had been kidnapped? Soon, though, the story would take an even more sinister turn and would capture the attention of the nation.





A Bizarre Story

After Orange County sheriff’s deputies arrived at the Anthony house, Casey spun them a truly strange tale. She claimed to have last seen Caylee on June 9, sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., when she dropped her off at the home of her nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, who lived in Apartment 210 of the Sawgrass Apartments on South Conway Road.

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony

Zenaida had been babysitting Caylee for nearly two years, according to Casey, and for the last few months she had been dropping Caylee off at the Sawgrass apartment. Before that, Casey had taken her daughter to Zenaida’s mother’s condominium near Michigan Avenue and South Conway Road; and prior to that, to another apartment Zenaida had lived in on North Hillside Drive.

Casey told the detectives she had met Zenaida through a friend named Jeff Hopkins, who used to work with her at Universal Studios. Zenaida used to watch Hopkins’ son, Zachary. In fact, when Zenaida had first started babysitting Caylee, Casey used to drop her off at Jeff Hopkins’ apartment, where Zenaida was also caring for Jeff’s son.

On June 9, after dropping Caylee off with her nanny, Casey went to her office at Universal Studios, where she worked as an event planner. When she returned to Zenaida’s apartment around 5:00 p.m. no one was home. She said she called Zenaida’s cell phone, but the number was out of service.

After waiting around for two hours, Casey went to her new boyfriend’s apartment, which she described as “one of the few places I felt at home.” She lived there for the next month, she said, and spent that time looking for her daughter and avoiding her parents. She said she did not tell her boyfriend that her daughter was missing.

The rest of the story, of course, is here, at least what they’ve done so far. Depending on what happens next, more information could cause them to add an update later on.

TM & © 2011 Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.

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Seattle PI – Verdict brought few answers in Caylee Anthony case

Posted by 4love2love on July 10, 2011

TAMARA LUSH, Associated Press
Updated 09:29 a.m., Sunday, July 10, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Many of the thousands who followed the Casey Anthony trial did not get the guilty verdict they wanted, nor did they learn the truth about what happened to the 2-year-old daughter she was accused of murdering.

And for the public, that may be one of the most frustrating parts of the case: Despite all the speculation and theories, they will never know how or why Caylee Anthony died.

“I think we know as much as we ever will know,” said Beth Hough, a 27-year-old administrative assistant from Chicago who followed the trial. “We don’t know exactly what happened, but if we did, it would help people to finally just move on and to end the story.”

That’s what’s missing: an ending. And because we’re so used to neatly packaged, hour-long TV crime dramas where the bad guy is usually put behind bars, the fact Anthony could be convicted only of lying to police has left people unsatisfied. And they have been vocal about their dismay, turning to Twitter and Facebook to vent their frustration.

So what’s left? Some fuzzy defense claims that little Caylee drowned and that her grandfather tried to make an accident look like a homicide.

“One of the quite healthy and appropriate satisfactions we get out of a well-functioning justice system is the belief that the justice system will give us the best answers to questions,” said Doug Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University.

A little girl ended up dead in the woods near her grandparents’ home with duct tape over her mouth, and her mother didn’t report her disappearance for more than a month. But how did Caylee die?

That’s where it gets complicated.

The defense said Caylee drowned in the family’s swimming pool. Prosecutors couldn’t say how Caylee died because the girl’s body was too decomposed to harvest DNA or other forensic evidence. So the state relied on circumstantial evidence: the trunk of Casey’s car smelled like a dead body to some witnesses; someone did an internet search for chloroform — a chemical that can be used to knock someone unconscious — at the Anthony home; and there was duct tape on Caylee’s skull when it was found six months after she was last seen in June 2008.

“If we don’t know how Caylee died, we can’t assign responsibility for the factors that led to her death. So there’s no justice,” said Maryann Gajos, a 51-year-old mother of two and a sixth-grade reading teacher in Inverness, Fla. “Watching all of these crime shows has spoiled all of us. In TV shows, the coroner always has the answer.”

But in this case, the coroner didn’t have the answer. Dr. Jan Garavaglia told the jury that Caylee had been murdered, but she couldn’t establish exactly how she died from only a skeleton.

And in the life-imitates-TV irony of this case, Garavaglia is also the star of her own reality TV show on Discovery Health Channel called “Dr. G: Medical Examiner,” in which she solves cases through autopsies.

“It’s frustrating that they can’t come up for a definitive reason for this girl dying,” said Sherri Cohen, a self-employed photographer from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “Archaeologists can tell you about bones that were found thousands of years ago, but they can’t tell you how a 3-year-old girl died three years ago.”

How Casey Anthony acted in the weeks and months after Caylee’s disappearance also contribute to the perception of whether the jury ultimately delivered justice.

“I feel that the way Casey Anthony behaved during the month her baby was ‘missing’ and her lies to the police and others have really frustrated people who want to see justice served,” said Marjorie Stout of Pinellas County, Fla., the same area where the jury was chosen because of the intense publicity in the Orlando area. “Not just for what is perceived to be murdering one’s own child but her lack of concern for Caylee as well.”

Berman, the Ohio State professor, has another theory about why folks are so frustrated: Casey Anthony never spoke. The defense made a strategic decision for Anthony not to testify — a decision that clearly worked in her favor, he said.

“It’s not just that the jury decision came out differently than we had hoped, it’s that the jury decision wasn’t a statement of her innocence. It was a statement of ‘We can’t figure out what happened.’ And in some sense, that’s even more frustrating than if the jury said, ‘We don’t think she did it.'”

That’s only amplified by the circumstances surrounding the case. After all, plenty of people are acquitted at trial because there isn’t enough evidence, said Jennifer Zedalis, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. But, she said, “there aren’t a lot of cases where that happens where the victim is a 2-year-old and the mother was out partying when her daughter was missing or dead.”

Read more:

© 2011 Hearst Communications Inc.



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Huffington Post – Sydney Woman’s Remains Found Years After Death

Posted by 4love2love on July 9, 2011

SYDNEY — When an elderly Australian woman apparently vanished from view eight years ago, no one bothered to call the police. Not her relatives, her neighbors, or government officials, who kept paying her welfare benefits into a bank account that sat untouched.

New South Wales state police said Wednesday that they discovered the woman’s skeletal remains on the floor of her Sydney home on Tuesday, after her sister-in-law finally called them to report that she had not heard from the woman – who would have turned 87 next month – since 2003.

“It’s sad that the woman appears to have died several years ago without anyone noticing,” said police Acting Superintendent Zoran Dzevlan.

Police were trying to determine exactly when the woman died, but said they didn’t think the death was suspicious.

The woman, whose name was not released by police, was a recluse who had no relatives except for her sister-in-law, Dzevlan said. The two had a fight in 2003 and never spoke again. Police have not said why the sister-in-law waited years to report the woman missing, or what prompted her to call now.

As the years passed, utility companies cut off the power and water to the woman’s home, police said. Centrelink, the government’s welfare agency, continued to pay her benefits to her bank account, which remained untouched. Her mail had been redirected to her sister-in-law’s home before 2003, but eventually stopped. Neighbors told police they hadn’t seen her in years and assumed the house was vacant.

Police said the woman’s home was locked and furnished, but looked like no one had lived there for years.

“To hear today that an elderly lady can pass away, be dead for eight years and for Centrelink to still be sending checks to her bank account and for those checks not to be cashed – surely that must set off the alarm bells within government,” New South Wales Police Minister Mike Gallacher said.

“(It) really does highlight the need for this state and indeed our community to work closer at building relationships with our community,” he said.

© 2011, Inc.

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The Washington Post – Betty Ford dies at 93: Former first lady founded iconic clinic

Posted by 4love2love on July 9, 2011

By Donnie Radcliffe, Published: July 8

Betty Ford, a self-proclaimed “ordinary” woman who never cared for political life but made a liberating adventure out of her 30 months as first lady, died Friday at age 93.

“I decided that if the White House was our fate,” she once said of Gerald R. Ford’s brief presidency, “I might as well have a good time doing it.”

To the surprise of some and the consternation of others, Mrs. Ford evolved as an activist first lady whose non-threatening manner coupled with her newfound celebrity provided the women’s movement with an impressive ally. Undaunted by critics, she campaigned for ratification of the ill-starred Equal Rights Amendment, championed liberalized abortion laws and lobbied her husband to name more women to policymaking government jobs.

“Perhaps it was unusual for a first lady to be as outspoken about issues as I was, but that was my temperament, and I believed in it,” she said in an interview for this paper at her Rancho Mirage, Calif., home in 1994. “I don’t like to be dishonest, so when people asked me, I said what I thought.”

Her husband, who died in 2006, was a longtime Michigan congressman who became House minority leader. He served as Richard M. Nixon’s vice president before the Watergate scandal led him to succeed Nixon, who resigned Aug. 9, 1974, and become the nation’s 38th president. Mrs. Ford had not wanted her husband to be president, but once he took office, she was determined that Americans know him as one with integrity.

“I was against a pardon,” she said of Ford’s decision to release Nixon from his Watergate offenses, which critics viewed as a secret deal between the two men in exchange for Nixon’s resignation.

Fearing the pardon would undermine Ford’s still-fragile presidency, she said she argued that “it would be very detrimental. I saw the anger as far as Watergate was concerned and the anger at President Nixon. I said, ‘It’s not going to be popular, it’s not going to look good.’ And I wanted him to look good.”

In the end, she acquiesced to Ford’s rationale that he needed to “get the country going.” Impeachment proceedings “would have taken months in court, and he didn’t think the country could stand that kind of thing,” she said. “When you’re trying to turn things around because of the distrust and all that was out there, you’ve got to do something. And sometimes you have to do something extreme.”

Within weeks after Watergate claimed Nixon’s political life and the Fords were settled at the White House, she soared from nonentity to national heroine because of her candid disclosure that she had a nodule in her right breast and was entering Bethesda Naval Medical Command. When a biopsy showed the lump to be malignant, she underwent a radical mastectomy.

Although intended in part to suggest a new period of openness in the White House, the announcement had another — and unexpected — effect that she said had not occurred to her: Women across the country began seeking checkups for breast cancer.

“Circumstances made it appropriate for us to speak up about what was happening to me because we were in such a spotlight. I became the conduit and I was very glad to be one,” Mrs. Ford said. “The public needed to know that this didn’t have to be swept under the rug anymore, that this needed to be open and discussed.”

Although she once characterized political wives as dutiful “appendages” and early in her husband’s career had reconciled herself to being simply “Congressman Ford’s wife,” the Betty Ford whom Americans eventually came to know was no shrinking violet.

When interviewers asked brash questions about the family’s private lives, Mrs. Ford ingenuously responded in kind. She quipped that she slept with her husband “as often as I can,” would try marijuana if she were young again and she “wouldn’t be surprised” if her teenage daughter Susan were to have a premarital affair.

“I always had a more liberal view,” she said. Just because she was first lady didn’t mean she felt any different, Mrs. Ford said at one point. It could happen to anyone. “After all,” she said, “it has happened to anyone.”

Her unconventional opinions outraged some Americans who considered it a first lady’s obligation to be morally accountable in word as well as deed. Many of her detractors were fellow Republicans; many of her fans Democrats.

“I felt the public had a right to know where I stood,” she wrote in her 1978 autobiography, “The Times of My Life.” When Ford proclaimed indebtedness “to no man and only one woman” in his inaugural remarks, his wife said she, too, felt she had a moral obligation to uphold his pledge of candor and openness in his administration.

Thus, for Mrs. Ford, a frank, plain-spoken Midwesterner, going public became a pattern of action that would also punctuate her post-White House years. In 1978, she disclosed that her use of alcohol and mood-altering prescription drugs had become a serious dependency.

In what she has described as a painful “intervention” when her family confronted her with her problem, she agreed to enter the drug and alcohol rehabilitation program at Long Beach Naval Hospital. Of that experience came the momentum to establish the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, a live-in treatment program for alcoholics and drug abusers.

As “very much a believer” in fate, she often thought about how her life and those of others suffering from cancer or alcohol and drug addictions might have played out had her husband never become president.

Alcoholism had been a ghostly companion throughout Mrs. Ford’s life, starting with her father, a traveling salesman, and continuing with a brother after he returned from World War II. It also contributed to the dissolution of her first marriage when, as she later wrote, “I probably encouraged my husband to drink.”

Although she eventually thought she was “born alcoholic” and the pressures in her life had not suddenly transformed her into one, in “Betty: A Glad Awakening” (1987), she wrote that she always saw herself as a “controlled drinker, no binges.”

“I never thought it would touch me anymore than you expect cancer or diabetes,” she said.

Survivors include three sons, Mike, Steve and Jack Ford; a daughter, Susan Ford Bales; and her grandchildren.

Born Elizabeth Ann Bloomer on April 9, 1918, in Chicago, she was the only daughter and youngest of three children of William Stephenson and Hortense Neahr Bloomer. When she was 2, they moved to Grand Rapids, Mich. When she was 12, she went to her first dance, with a boy she married 12 years later.

Her father’s death by carbon monoxide poisoning in a garage accident when she was 16 came at the height of the Great Depression. By then she had an after-school job modeling in a local department store and on Saturdays gave dancing lessons in her aunt’s basement.

“Dancing was my happiness,” she wrote of her short-lived career, which included two summers at the Bennington School of Dance in Vermont, a winter in New York City under the tutelage of modern dance pioneer Martha Graham and, back in Grand Rapids, teaching dance for a bit before marrying insurance salesman William Warren in 1942.

“I could have as easily skipped it,” she said later of the marriage, which ended in divorce in 1947 with her vow never to remarry, particularly someone who traveled for a living. Within months Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., a Grand Rapids lawyer five years her senior, changed her mind.

“If I had known he was going to run for Congress, I don’t think I would have married him,” she said in a 1973 interview with this reporter. “I really thought I was marrying a lawyer, and we’d be living in Grand Rapids.”

She first learned of his plans to run for Congress when he announced his candidacy for Michigan’s 5th Congressional District seat in the 1948 elections. Only later did she learn why Ford didn’t want the marriage to take place until late that fall. By then the primary election would be over and what he feared might be unpopular with Republican voters, marrying a divorced woman, would no longer pose a problem for him.

She later admitted that she had not understood what running for Congress meant or how unprepared she was to be a political wife. Told by a future sister-in-law that there would never be another woman in Ford’s life because he was married to his work, she never expected to have an even more demanding rival: politics.

Politics, in fact, had been an alien and contentious world to the attractive former John Robert Powers model. “I ignored it,” she said.

Still, she was apolitical enough to realize that she could live with her husband’s moderate Republican positions. When she married him on Oct. 15, 1948, at Grand Rapids’ Grace Episcopal Church, “that made up my mind” about a political affiliation.

They honeymooned by making the rounds of campaign rallies. She voted Republican for the first time by casting her ballot for her new husband. (Later, she made no secret of occasionally splitting her vote, to the chagrin of party loyalists.) Years afterward, when Ford’s White House advisers warned that her liberal feminist views could damage his 1976 presidential bid (“If Jerry Ford can’t control his own wife, how can he run the country?” went a popular refrain of the day), Mrs. Ford countered that she was “merely raising another voice within the party.”

The close-knit society of congressional wives that Mrs. Ford joined in January 1949 offered bipartisan friendships but imposed strict protocols, some glamorous but most of them duty-driven. In the shadow world where she lived with their four children, born from 1950 to 1957, wives were caretakers of family, hearth and husband.

Her dependency on prescription drugs began around 1964, when she was hospitalized for a pinched nerve in her neck, the result of an earlier injury while shoving up a kitchen window. As her pain increased, so did the dosages of pain-killing and mood-altering prescription drugs, among them Valium, which she took daily. Her physical discomfort, Ford’s frequent absences and her growing resentment over his preoccupation with work reached a point where she sought the help of a psychiatrist.

Then in 1972, with Democrats retaining control of the House, Ford realized he no longer had any realistic hope of becoming speaker. He promised his wife he would seek one more term and then retire from political life in January 1977. But Vice President Spiro Agnew’s fall from grace with his response of “nolo contendere” to charges of taking bribes forced the Fords to alter their timetable.

Although Nixon’s list of vice presidential nominees included longtime friend and political ally Ford, Mrs. Ford never took seriously speculation that he would choose her husband. Unknown to her, however, Ford had met on several occasions with Nixon chief of staff Alexander Haig and eventually Nixon himself.

On Oct. 12, 1973, the same day the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Nixon must make available eight subpoenaed Oval Office tapes critical to the Watergate case, Nixon announced his nominee. In private, Nixon had assured Ford that he need not worry about becoming the party nominee in 1976 because he would be backing Treasury Secretary John Connally for president. According to Mrs. Ford, Nixon’s promise made her husband’s nomination palatable.

She received reporters in the Fords’ unpretentious split-level Alexandria home, to talk readily about her children, openly about her physical problems and optimistically about seeing more of her husband as vice president.

But an early clue that behind the stereotypical political wife there was a little-known feminist came in an interview with Barbara Walters. On the condition that they not discuss political issues, she faced up to Walters, whose first question was what she thought of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision on Roe v. Wade, which effectively legalized abortion.

As Mrs. Ford later recalled the encounter, “I just said, ‘Well, I’m delighted because I’m glad they have taken abortion out of the backwoods and put it into the hospitals.’ And, of course, that was the beginning. Nobody realized that I had ever had an opinion. I mean, ‘All those children? She couldn’t!’ ”

That September, at her debut news conference as first lady, she moved publicly closer to the liberal roots of her youth, confirming her earlier statement on abortion by aligning herself with the abortion rights position of vice-president-designate Nelson Rockefeller. She expressed her support of the Equal Rights Amendment, five states short of ratification, and urged women to take a more active role in politics. Mrs. Ford’s August 1975 taped interview with CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Morley Safer earned her the lasting animus of scandalized Republican conservatives and provided them another excuse to champion Ronald Reagan as the party challenger in 1976.

If Ford thought his wife “a little mouthy” about ERA, she said in 1994 that their children were indignant that they had become the subject of speculation about whether they had smoked marijuana (“Probably,” Mrs. Ford told Safer), premarital sex (it might reduce the divorce rate, she mused) and how she might respond if daughter Susan told her she was having an affair (“She’s a perfectly normal human being. . . . I would certainly counsel and advise her on the subject.”)

Privately, Ford pitched a pillow at her when he watched the program later. Publicly, he joked that his wife cost him “10 million votes,” then in a further attempt to minimize the political consequences with facetious exaggeration, upped the figure to 20 million. Anti-Ford forces were incensed that the president and his wife appeared to condone immorality and told her so in a barrage of critical mail.

A look back at the life and legacy of former first lady Betty Ford who died at the age of 93.

Attempting to defuse her remarks, Mrs. Ford subsequently wrote in a letter to her critics that “the emotion of my words spoke to the need of this communication, rather than the specific issues discussed.”

By year’s end, however, her approval rating jumped from 50 percent to 75 percent, making her the nation’s most admired woman.

When the 1976 presidential campaign got underway, it was Mrs. Ford who drew the crowds and inspired the campaign buttons that read: “Elect Betty’s Husband for President.”

Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter’s defeat of Ford by 2 percentage points raised the question of whether some of Mrs. Ford’s intemperate remarks had contributed to her husband’s loss. In California, where the Fords moved to establish a life away from Washington, she spoke of feeling unwanted, unnecessary and alone. She grappled with empty-nest syndrome by taking as many as 25 pills a day. By evening, she added before- and after-dinner vodka and tonics.

In April 1978, confronted with her addictions by her worried family, she agreed to seek help at the Navy’s rehabilitation facility in Long Beach. This time when Mrs. Ford returned home, fate handed her another assignment: point person in a fundraising campaign to build a $7.6 million chemical dependency recovery facility.

Four years later, the Betty Ford Center opened on the grounds of the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, with its namesake as chairman of the board. She later was instrumental in expanding its services to include a family therapy program and a women’s treatment center.

She was an early proponent of help for AIDS victims and continued her support for women’s rights. As namesake of the Betty Ford Comprehensive Center for Breast Cancer at the old Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, she remained a symbol of the importance of early detection.

In 1993, feeling they would have more impact together than as individuals, Mrs. Ford and her former campaign rival Rosalynn Carter joined forces to urge the White House and Congress to include in any health-care reform legislation being written coverage for mental health and substance abuse.

Although it would be another 17 years before a health-care package was enacted, Mrs. Ford, who had helped advance the role of future first ladies from dutiful “appendages” to activist partners, remained convinced that making the effort had always been worth it.

“When you have so much,” she said, “it is just human nature that you see the needs of others and you want to help.”

Radcliffe, a longtime Washington Post journalist, died in February 2010.



© 2011 The Washington Post


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NY Times – American Artist Who Scribbled a Unique Path

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

CY TWOMBLY, 1928-2011

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Cy Twombly with his painting “1994 Untitled (Say Goodbye Catullus, to the Shores of Asia Minor),” at the Menil Collection in Houston in 2005. More Photos »

Published: July 5, 2011

Cy Twombly, whose spare, childlike scribbles and poetic engagement with antiquity left him stubbornly out of step with the movements of postwar American art even as he became one of the era’s most important painters, died on Tuesday in Rome. He was 83.

The Art of Cy Twombly

His death was announced by the Gagosian Gallery, which represents his work. Mr. Twombly had battled cancer for several years.

In a career that slyly subverted Abstract Expressionism, toyed briefly with Minimalism, seemed barely to acknowledge Pop art and anticipated some of the concerns of Conceptualism, Mr. Twombly was a divisive artist almost from the start. The curator Kirk Varnedoe, on the occasion of a 1994 retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote that his work was “influential among artists, discomfiting to many critics and truculently difficult not just for a broad public, but for sophisticated initiates of postwar art as well.”

The critic Robert Hughes called him “the Third Man, a shadowy figure, beside that vivid duumvirate of his friends Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.”

Mr. Twombly’s decision to settle permanently in southern Italy in 1957 as the art world shifted decisively in the other direction, from Europe to New York, was only the most symbolic of his idiosyncrasies. He avoided publicity throughout his life and mostly ignored his critics, who questioned constantly whether his work deserved a place at the forefront of 20th century abstraction, though he lived long enough to see it arrive there. It didn’t help that his paintings, because of their surface complexity and whirlwinds of tiny detail — scratches, erasures, drips, penciled fragments of Italian and classical verse amid scrawled phalluses and buttocks — lost much of their power in reproduction.

But Mr. Twombly, a tall, rangy Virginian who once practiced drawing in the dark to make his lines less purposeful, steadfastly followed his own program and looked to his own muses — often literary ones, like Catullus, Rumi, Pound and Rilke. He seemed to welcome the privacy that came with unpopularity.

“I had my freedom and that was nice,” he said in a rare interview, with Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate, before a 2008 survey of his career at the Tate Modern.

The critical low point probably came after a widely panned 1964 exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York. The artist and writer Donald Judd, who was hostile toward painting in general, was especially damning, calling the show a fiasco. “There are a few drips and splatters and an occasional pencil line,” he wrote in a review. “There isn’t anything to these paintings.”

But by the 1980s, with the rise of neo-Expressionism, a generation of younger artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat found inspiration in Mr. Twombly’s skittery bathroom-graffiti scrawl. Coupled with rising interest in European artists whose work shared unexpected ground with Twombly’s, like Joseph Beuys, the newfound attention brought him a kind of critical favor he had never enjoyed before. And by the next decade, he was highly sought after not only by European museums and collectors, who had discovered his work early on, but also by those back in his homeland who had not known what to make of him two decades before.

In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art opened permanent rooms dedicated to his monumental 10-painting cycle, “Fifty Days at Iliam,” based on Alexander Pope’s translation of “The Iliad.” (Mr. Twombly said that he purposely misspelled Ilium, a Latin name for Troy, with an “a,” to refer to Achilles.) That same year, Mr. Twombly’s work passed the million dollar mark at auction. In 1995, the Menil Collection in Houston opened a new gallery dedicated to his work, designed by Renzo Piano after a plan by Mr. Twombly himself. Despite this growing acceptance, Mr. Varnedoe still felt it necessary to include an essay in the Modern’s newsletter at the time of the retrospective, titled “Your Kid Could Not Do This, and Other Reflections on Cy Twombly.”

‘It Does Not Illustrate’

In the only written statement Mr. Twombly ever made about his work, a short essay in an Italian art journal in 1957, he tried to make clear that his intentions were not subversive but elementally human. Each line he made, he said, was “the actual experience” of making the line, adding: “It does not illustrate. It is the sensation of its own realization.” Years later, he described this more plainly. “It’s more like I’m having an experience than making a picture,” he said. The process stood in stark contrast to the detached, effete image that often clung to Mr. Twombly. After completing a work, in a kind of ecstatic state, it was as if the painting existed but he himself barely did anymore: “I usually have to go to bed for a couple of days,” he said.

Edwin Parker Twombly Jr., was born in Lexington, Va., on April 25, 1928, to parents who had moved to the South from New England. His father, a talented athlete who pitched a summer for the Chicago White Sox and went on to become a revered college swimming coach, was nicknamed Cy, after Cy Young, the Hall of Fame pitcher. The younger Mr. Twombly (pronounced TWAHM-blee) inherited the name, though he was much more bookish than athletic as a child, with stooped shoulders and a high ponderous forehead. He read avidly and, discovering his calling early, he worked from art kits he ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog. As a teenager, he studied with the Spanish painter Pierre Daura, who had left Europe after the Spanish Civil War and settled in Lexington. Daura’s wife, Louise Blair, studied cave paintings and may have sparked Mr. Twombly’s early interest in Paleolithic art.

In 1947 he attended the Boston Museum School, where German Expressionism was the rage, but Mr. Twombly gravitated to his own interests, like Dada and Kurt Schwitters and particularly to Jean Dubuffet and Alberto Giacometti, two important early influences. He moved back to Lexington in 1949 and studied art at Washington and Lee University, where his talent impressed teachers. By 1950, he was in New York, the recipient of a scholarship to the Art Students League. Later in his life, he cited visiting Willem de Kooning’s studio and seeing an Arshile Gorky retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art as important moments in his young painting life. But he also came to New York at the heyday of the New York School and was exposed to the work of almost all its giants in the city’s galleries. He turned down an offer for a solo show of his paintings at the Art Students League in 1950, saying that he felt it was too early for him.

He met Rauschenberg, a fellow student at the league, during his second semester, and Rauschenberg later persuaded Mr. Twombly to enroll at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, which had become a crucible for the American avant-garde, with John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Ray Johnson, Dorothea Rockburne and John Chamberlain among its faculty and students. Mr. Twombly, who studied with Ben Shahn, stayed at the college only briefly and was a bit of an outsider even then. As he told Mr. Serota: “I was always doing my own thing. I always wondered why there are books with photographs of all the artists of that period and I was only in one! I thought: ‘Where was I?’ ”

In the summer of 1952, after receiving a grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Mr. Twombly traveled to Europe for the first time and met up with Rauschenberg. The two wandered through Italy, North Africa and Spain, an experience that later yielded some of the first paintings to be considered a part of Mr. Twombly’s mature work. “Tiznit,” made with white enamel house paint and pencil and crayon, with gouges and scratches in the surface, was named for a town in Morocco that he had visited, and the painting’s primitivist shapes were inspired by tribal pieces he saw at the ethnographic museum in Rome, as well as by artists like Dubuffet, de Kooning and Franz Kline.

The painting, along with another based on tribal motifs, was exhibited in 1953 at Eleanor Ward’s Stable Gallery on West 58th Street along with monochromatic paintings by Rauschenberg. The show was generally savaged. (Early this year, the Museum of Modern Art acquired “Tiznit,” along with another early work, which Mr. Twombly had kept in his personal collection.)

Mr. Twombly was drafted and spent more than a year in the Army, where he was assigned to cryptography work in Washington. On weekends and leaves, he continued to paint and draw, sometimes at night with the lights out to try to lose techniques he had learned in art classes and to express himself more instinctively. After receiving a medical discharge and teaching for a time in Virginia, Mr. Twombly returned to New York and worked in a studio on William Street, near both Rauschenberg and Johns, who helped choose titles for his paintings during this period.

Mr. Twombly tried without success for several months to get a grant to go back to Europe and in 1957, with Ward’s help, he spent several months in Italy, where he met Tatiana Franchetti, a portrait painter and member of a storied family of Italian art patrons. They were married in 1959 at City Hall in New York and their son, Cyrus Alessandro, was born that year. She died in 2010. Mr. Twombly is survived by his son; two grandchildren, and by Nicola Del Roscio, his longtime companion.

In Love With Italy

Mr. Twombly fell in love with Italy, which reminded him of the faded grandeur of Lexington. (“Virginia is a good start for Italy,” he once said.) He rented an apartment facing the Coliseum in Rome and began to work on larger scale paintings, which were increasingly spare, incorporating scrawled words and doodle-like shapes on a smudged off-white background, establishing a lifelong reputation as a high-art graffitist that generally irked him. He told Mr. Serota that while early paintings made visual reference to ancient graffiti, his intentions were “more lyrical” and his inclusion of phalluses and female body parts were often just ways to evoke male and female presences in the work. If his aspirations were toward any period, he later said, it was an early neo-Classicism, like that of Poussin, whom he said he would have liked to have been. (In his final days, he at least communed with his hero’s spirit; the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London opened a show on June 29 pairing his works with Poussin’s.)

In 1958, Mr. Twombly left Ward’s Stable Gallery and began to show at Leo Castelli, which represented Rauschenberg and Johns and was establishing them as presences in the New York art world. Mr. Twombly continued to live and work in and around Rome, but he traveled extensively, to the Sahara, Greece, Egypt and Turkey. In 1964 his work was included in one of the first exhibitions to explore the ideas of Minimalism, “Black, White and Grey,” at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford, with a roster of rising stars like Agnes Martin, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol.

But the same year, Mr. Twombly’s “Nine Discourses on Commodus,” an ambitious painting cycle he made after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, based on the life and death of the Roman emperor, received scathing reviews in a show at the Castelli gallery. In addition to Judd’s condemnation, other critics dismissed the work as nostalgically backward-looking or barely there; one described paintings of “indecisive pinkish scrawled areas floating across each other at the edges.” According to the catalog for the Tate Modern show, the criticism damaged Mr. Twombly’s career and caused him to paint less for several years. His aversion to the press might also have been cemented at this point; not long after the Castelli show, Vogue magazine ran a piece about Mr. Twombly, lavishly illustrated with pictures by Horst P. Horst of his elegant Roman apartment. The article noted archly that his wealth and comfort had led to “Twombly being suspected of having fallen for ‘grandeur’ ” and to a view among American critics that he had “somehow betrayed the cause.”

In the 1960’s, he began to work for periods of time back in Lexington and in New York, where he used the collector and curator David Whitney’s loft and then rented space on the Bowery. In 1972, he began working on one of the largest canvases of his career, a painting inspired by Burton’s “Anatomy of Melancholy,” which would take him 22 years to complete and is now installed in the Twombly gallery at the Menil Collection.

With the opening of that gallery Mr. Twombly fully entered what might be called the Old Master stage of a career that had taken a long time to arrive there, though his presence is still muted in the narrative of postwar art told by many American museum collections.

In 2010, the Louvre unveiled a ceiling painting it commissioned by Mr. Twombly, a 3,750-square-foot work in the museum’s Salle des Bronzes, next door to a ceiling triptych created more than half a century before by Georges Braque. The work is as calm and classical as his many of his early paintings were stormy and scatological: a listing of Hellenic sculptors against a deep blue background with planet-like discs. Characteristically, Mr. Twombly said little about the work.

Just before the retrospective at the Modern opened in 1994, he submitted reluctantly to an interview with The New York Times, sounding more agitated by the attention the show directed his way than vindicated by the recognition.

“I have my pace and way of living,” he said, in his hillside house in Gaeta, south of Rome, “and I’m not looking for something.” Of reputation and artistic acclaim, he added: “It’s something I don’t think about. If it happens, it happens, but don’t bother me with it. I couldn’t care less.”

© 2011 The New York Times

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Huffington Post – Clayton Hill: Dawoud Muhammad Murdered Notorious B.I.G., I Was An Accessory After The Fact

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011


First Posted: 07/ 5/11 11:58 AM ET Updated: 07/ 5/11 04:43 PM ET


Clayton Hill, a former member of the Nation of Islam and currently incarcerated at a federal prison in Chicago, has come forward and told that he played an accessory to the murder of rapper Notorious BIG after the fact, and knows who shot and killed the rapper.

BIG, or Christopher Wallace, was killed while driving away from a party in Los Angeles on March 9, 1997. Hill claims that, acting under orders from a higher-up at Muhammad Mosque #15 in Atlanta, he met at a Greyhound station a man from Los Angeles who called himself Dawoud Muhammad and took from him possession of a firearm that he claimed he used to shoot the rapper.

“[Dawoud Muhammad] stated to me that he was on the run for the murder [of The Notorious B.I.G.],” Hill told “He disclosed that he was the shooter of The Notorious B.I.G. because he (Dawoud) was a former Blood gang member and was paid to do so.”

Hill will soon release the e-book, “Diary of an Ex-Terrorist,” about his time with the Nation of Islam.

“I told [Dawoud Muhammad] I had instructions to collect some property from him,” he writes in that book. “He must have been given the same instructions because he didn’t hesitate or show any signs of doubt as he bent over and removed a trash liner out of a waste can and handed it to me to hold open. He reached into the duffle bag he brought with him and pulled out a semi-automatic hand gun that could have been a .9 millimeter or a .40 caliber wrapped in a white undershirt. Carefully he placed it into the trash bag making sure his hands never touched any of the exposed parts of the gun.”

Recently, the long-frustrated inquiry into BIG’s murder was “re-invigorated” by new evidence, CNN reported in January. At the center of the case is former LAPD Detective Russell Poole, who resigned from the force in 1999 after feeling as if his investigation was being stonewalled from within.

Poole claimed that former LAPD officer David Mack, a Tupac superfan, and Amir Muhammad carried out the shooting of BIG, as ordered by Death Row Records founder Suge Knight, who was incarcerated at the time. Shakur was murdered months before, part of the east coast-west coast rap rivalry, and Knight, some speculate, may have been seeking revenge.

Months later, Mack was sent to prison for bank robbery. Poole insisted that officers in the LAPD, working off duty for Death Row, thwarted the investigation, telling CNN that he, “was getting too close to the truth.”

In 2005, a paid informant who said that Knight ordered the murder pulled back his testimony, saying that he was a paranoid schizophrenic and his identification was fraudulent.

When asked Hill whether his memory of Dawoud Muhammad matches pictures of Amir Muhammad, Hill said, “I have looked at the pics… and although I cannot say conclusively and with absolute certainty because that was 14 years ago, Amir Muhammad looks like the person who used the name Dawoud.”

Hill claims — and a source confirmed — that he met with the government about the content of his confession, though his inability to identify the killer in photos hurt his credibility, at least in terms of usability in court. Hill is currently serving time for Conspiracy to Defraud the United States and Identity Theft.

For more, click over to


Copyright © 2011, Inc.

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Huffington Post – Casey Anthony Trial: Anger At The Courthouse

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

David Lohr

First Posted: 07/5/11 10:42 PM ET Updated: 07/6/11 12:45 PM ET

Orlando, Fla. — Inside the courtroom, there was jubilation today for Casey Anthony and her defense team. Not only did they manage to avoid a first-degree murder conviction, they also dodged the possibility of a death sentence. However, outside on the courthouse steps, there was a lot of outrage and frustration at the verdict.

“It is not justice. I cannot believe this. How did an injustice like this happen? It is terrible, terrible,” Scott Corfee of Orlando, who sat in court when the verdict was announced, told The Huffington Post.

Randall Weeks, a resident of Miami who drove to the courthouse to hear the verdict, agreed.

“This is the biggest outrage since the O.J. Simpson trial,” Weeks said. “How could they be so blind? Where is justice? Who will pay for her daughter’s death?”

Anthony, 25, was found not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, today. She was also found not guilty of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child. But she was convicted on charges of misleading law enforcement.

As news of the verdict spread, angered onlookers swarmed the front of the courthouse. The group began shouting in unison, “We want justice” and chanted, “Justice for Caylee.”

A dozen or so sheriff’s deputies emerged from inside the courthouse and forced the angry crowd back. Officers put up caution tape and stood guard, blocking the courthouse doors. For a brief time, the media was stuck between the protesters and the police, unable to move until the area was secure.

“I am a firm believer in karma. Maybe justice did not get her, but karma will,” Corfee said.

A much more peaceful gathering was being held concurrently on Suburban Drive in Orlando, where Caylee’s remains were found in December 2008. For the second day in a row, hundreds of people made their way into the woods to pay their respects.

“This is the only way I know how to grieve,” said a neighbor of the Anthonys who did not wish to be identified. “We’ll never see little Caylee again. Only the Anthonys know where she has been laid to rest. We have no grave to visit, so what else can we do but come here to pay our respects?”

Casey Anthony will be back in court Thursday for sentencing on four misdemeanor counts of lying to police. Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. The judge has the option of sentencing Anthony consecutively or concurrently. Anthony will receive credit for time served in jail since her 2008 arrest, meaning she could walk free.

While Thursday’s outcome is yet to be seen, Weeks and others the Huffington Post spoke with said they will be back on Thursday morning to get their views across regarding Anthony’s sentencing.

“You bet your ass we’ll be back,” Weeks’ friend, Jay Henderson, said. “We’ll all be back to have our voices heard.” Several in the crowd cheered in agreement as he spoke.


Orange County Courthouse
Dozens gather on the court house steps to show their outrage and frustration at the verdict. (Photo: David Lohr)

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NPR – Jurors’ Thinking In Casey Anthony Trial Starts To Emerge

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011

Tuesday (July 5, 2011): Casey Anthony reacts to being found not guilty on murder charges.

Pool/Getty ImagesTuesday (July 5, 2011): Casey Anthony reacts to being found not guilty on murder charges.

The day-after stories about the not-guilty verdict for Florida mother Casey Anthony, who was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in a case that has dominated the tabloids and cable news networks, include a clue to what the jurors were thinking.

— CBS News: “They didn’t show us how Caylee died, and that was important,” Russell Hueckler, an alternate juror, said of the prosecution. “No one could answer that.”

Meanwhile, as The Orlando Sentinel reports, “Assistant State Attorney Jeff Ashton on national television this morning said that he was shocked and bitterly disappointed by the jury’s decision to render not guilty verdicts on the major charges in the Casey Anthony case on Tuesday.”

The case continues to be a trending topic on Twitter, where most commenters seem to believe the jury made a mistake.

As for what’s next for Anthony, who is to be sentenced Thursday on the four counts of lying to authorities that she was convicted on, CNN reports that some legal experts say:

“Don’t be surprised if [she] walks out of jail a free woman after her sentencing. … And, they add, there is nothing stopping her from cashing in on book or movie deals — as her acquittal on serious charges now means she is free to profit off her story.”

And Fox News says Anthony can expect to “earn millions from [the] media, Hollywood.”

Others now in the spotlight thanks to the case include Anthony’s attorney, Jose Baez. As the Miami Herald says, he is “a lawyer who came out of no where, was snickered at, laughed at, smeared, attacked and rebuked by the judge. In the end, the 42-year-old attorney who grew up in South Florida, came out on top.”


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ABC News – Casey Anthony Trial: Caylee’s Mom Created a World of Made-Up People

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011


July 6, 2011

Casey Anthony‘s imaginary life had more drama and made-up people than a soap opera.

The nearly dozen people whom she created with her ornate lies changed addresses, contracted cancer, got married. One even died in a car crash.

Much of her make-believe life was built around a job as an event planner she claimed she had at Universal Studios. Anthony stuck to that story until police investigating the disappearance of daughter Caylee insisted she take them to her office.

Casey Anthony confidently led police through the gates of Universal Studios, through a lot, into a building and down a corridor until she finally stopped, turned and conceded, “I don’t work here.”

Many of Anthony’s lies were told to her mother, Cindy Anthony, who tearfully recounted how she discovered that each of these people were fictional characters.

The biggest whopper was the babysitter, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez. She was, according to Casey Anthony, a beautiful woman who once dated Casey’s ex-boyfriend, Jeffrey Hopkins.

“Zanny the nanny” was from New York City, had moved to Florida for college and had stayed in the area. She had a mom named Gloria, and moved three times while living in the Orlando area.

Casey Anthony’s World of Make Believe

Casey Anthony gave her mother a detailed description of Zanny’s newest address. She also told her mom when Zanny got her long hair cut short, and mentioned that Zenaida drove a Ford Focus.

When Caylee was taken from her, Casey Anthony introduced a new relative of Zanny’s. She claimed that Zenaida’s sister, Samantha, held her down while Zenaida took Caylee away, saying Casey Anthony was a bad mother.

Zanny also had a roommate named Raquel Ferrell, she told her mother.

Jeff Hopkins, according to Casey Anthony, was once her boyfriend and he had a son named Zachary who was the same age as Caylee’s. The kids often played together. During Caylee’s disappearance, Casey Anthony claimed that she was visiting Hopkins in Jacksonville, Fla., and was trying to rekindle her romance with him.

Hopkins supposedly was wealthy, worked at Nickelodeon, had moved to North Carolina and then back to Florida. Cindy Anthony, Casey’s mother, testified in court that she found a picture of a man and a boy on her daughter’s cellphone identified as Hopkins and filed under “boyfriend.”

Casey Anthony, 25, also told her mother about Hopkins’ mom, a woman supposedly named Jules who had cancer. Cindy Anthony even baked a cake for a Christmas season meeting with Hopkins and his mother, but the meeting was cancelled at the last minute.

When Casey Anthony was being pressured by her mother to produce Caylee, Casey Anthony claimed they were staying in Jacksonville, Fla., for Jules Hopkins‘ surprise wedding.

There was a real Jeff Hopkins but, he told the court, he only attended middle school with Casey Anthony and had run into her in a bar once.

Eric Baker was another person in Casey Anthony’s murky life story. She claimed to her mother that Baker was Caylee’s father, although no one in the Anthony family ever met him.

Cindy Anthony told the court that her daughter claimed that Baker was married and had another child, meaning Caylee had a half-brother.

Cindy Anthony also told the court how she received a distraught phone call from her daughter one day, sobbing that Eric Baker had been killed in a car crash. Casey Anthony claimed to have an obit on Baker, but lost it.

Investigators never tracked down an Eric Baker who was associated with Casey Anthony and it has never been confirmed whether someone named Eric Baker is the father of Caylee. Caylee’s father is still unknown.

While supposedly working at Universal Studios, Casey Anthony had to contend with a boss named Thomas Manly, and had become close friends with a colleague named Juliette Lewis. Lewis had a daughter named Annabelle.

None of them actually existed, but Cindy Anthony heard a fleshed out version of Juliette Lewis. Lewis, she said, was involved in volunteer work.

Casey and her mother, Cindy, went to help Lewis with a fundraiser, but after waiting for about 90 minutes, Lewis didn’t show up, Cindy Anthony testified. Lewis, Casey Anthony told her mother, later moved back to New York.

© 2011 ABC News


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Kansas City Star – Spectacle that was Casey Anthony trial comes to a surprising end

Posted by 4love2love on July 6, 2011


The Associated Press

Defense attorney José Baez and Casey Anthony hugged Tuesday after the jury acquitted Anthony of murdering her daughter, Caylee.  Go to Kansas for a photo  gallery.
Red Huber
Defense attorney José Baez and Casey Anthony hugged Tuesday after the jury acquitted Anthony of murdering her daughter, Caylee. Go to Kansas for a photo gallery.

ORLANDO, Fla. | Casey Anthony’s eyes welled with tears and her lips trembled as the verdict was read once, twice and then a third time: “Not guilty” of killing her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

Outside the courthouse, many in the crowd of 500 reacted with anger, chanting, “Justice for Caylee!” One man yelled, “Baby killer!”

In one of the most divisive verdicts since O.J. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife, Anthony was cleared Tuesday of murder, manslaughter and child-abuse charges after weeks of wall-to-wall TV coverage and armchair-lawyer punditry.

Anthony, 25, was convicted only of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators who were looking into the child’s June 2008 disappearance.

Anthony could get up to a year behind bars on each count when she is sentenced Thursday. But since she has been in jail for nearly three years already, she could walk free. Had she been convicted of murder, she could have gotten the death penalty.

After a trial of a month and a half, the Florida 9th Judicial Circuit Court jury took less than 11 hours to reach a verdict in a case that had become a national cable TV sensation.

Prosecutors contended that Anthony — a single mother living with her parents — suffocated Caylee with duct tape because she wanted to be free to hit the nightclubs and spend time with her boyfriend.

Defense attorneys argued that the little girl accidentally drowned in the family swimming pool, and that Anthony panicked and concealed the death because of the traumatic effects of sexual abuse by her father.

State’s Attorney Lawson Lamar said: “We’re disappointed in the verdict today because we know the facts and we’ve put in absolutely every piece of evidence that existed.”

The prosecutor lamented the lack of hard evidence, saying, “This is a dry-bones case. Very, very difficult to prove. The delay in recovering little Caylee’s remains worked to our considerable disadvantage.”

Anthony failed to report Caylee’s disappearance for a month. The child’s decomposed body was eventually found in the woods near her grandparents’ home six months after she was last seen. A medical examiner was never able to establish how she died, and prosecutors had only circumstantial evidence that Caylee had been killed.

“While we’re happy for Casey, there are no winners in this case,” Anthony attorney José Baez said after the verdict. “Caylee has passed on far, far too soon, and what my driving force has been for the last three years has been always to make sure that there has been justice for Caylee and Casey because Casey did not murder Caylee. It’s that simple. And today our system of justice has not dishonored her memory by a false conviction.”

Given the relative speed with which the jury came back, many court-watchers were expecting Anthony to be convicted and were stunned by the outcome.

Because the case got so much media attention in Orlando, jurors were brought in from the Tampa Bay area and sequestered for the entire trial, during which they listened to more than 33 days of testimony and looked at 400 pieces of evidence. Anthony did not take the stand.

The case became a macabre tourist attraction. People camped outside for seats in the courtroom, and scuffles broke out among those desperate to watch the drama unfold.

In closing arguments, prosecutor Linda Drane Burdick showed the jury two side-by-side images. One showed Anthony smiling and partying in a nightclub during the first month Caylee was missing. The other was the tattoo Anthony got a day before law enforcement learned of the child’s disappearance: the Italian words for “beautiful life.”

“At the end of this case, all you have to ask yourself is whose life was better without Caylee?” Burdick asked. “This is your answer.”

Prosecutors also focused heavily on an odor in the trunk of Anthony’s car, which forensics experts said was consistent with the smell of human decay. But the defense argued that the air analysis could not be duplicated, and that maggots in the trunk had come from a bag of trash.

Prosecutors hammered away at the lies Anthony told when the child was missing: She told her parents that she couldn’t produce Caylee because the girl was with a nanny named Zanny — a woman who doesn’t exist; that she and her daughter were spending time with a rich boyfriend who doesn’t exist; and that Zanny had been hospitalized after an out-of-town traffic crash and that they were spending time with her.

Baez contended that the toddler drowned and that when Anthony panicked, her father, a former police officer, decided to make the death look like a murder by putting duct tape on the girl’s mouth and dumping the body in the woods a quarter-mile away. Anthony’s father denied both the cover-up and abuse claims.

The verdict could divide people for years to come, just as the Simpson case did, with some believing Anthony got away with murder.

Posted on Tue, Jul. 05, 2011 11:23 PM

Read more:

Copyright 2011 Kansas City Star/Associated Press


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Mom and kids beat kittens with baseball bat

Posted by 4love2love on July 4, 2011

sponsored by: People Against Animal Cruelty
At 8 weeks old, a small black and white kitten named Dexter is lucky to be alive after his owner and her two young sons took him to a neighborhood park and beat him and another kitten with an aluminum bat. Dexter is clinging to life, but his brother died as a result of his injuries.

Four children at a park in Brooksville, Florida watched in horror last Friday evening when they saw 24-year-old Wilana Joenel Frazier and her two sons — one 8 years old and the other 5 — torture the two small kittens.Demand justice for the tortured kittens.

Frazier hit the kittens with a baseball bat and encouraged her children to kick the animals and throw them against a tree. Then they placed the kittens on a swing. When one of the animals died, the boys put him in a trash can and covered him with water.

By the time Linda Christian, a Hernando County Animal Services officer, arrived on the scene little Dexter had been rescued and wrapped in a white T-shirt by one of the boys who witnessed the event. Blood was running from the kitten’s nose and mouth. Soon he began to have seizures from the trauma to his brain.

When Christian touched the kitten, he began to convulse. Christian told the St. Petersburg Times, “I thought I was going to lose him at that point. It was very upsetting.”

Christian rushed Dexter to the Pet Luv Nonprofit Spay and Neuter Clinic and miraculously the small ball of fur has survived the first few critical days. Employees at the clinic care for him during the day and a veterinary technician has been taking him home each night.

Dexter is able to keep his medication down, is eating from a feeding tube and has started to walk a little on his own. But veterinarians are still very concerned about potential damage to Dexter’s brain and are not sure if he will ultimately succumb to his injuries.
Rick Silvani, president of Pet Luv said, “All animals have a right to life, but a helpless, defenseless kitten… You don’t know what to say. It’s just incomprehensible.” The group has agreed to cover the costs of Dexter’s medical care.

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office questioned Frazier, but she denied being involved and said her children were not part of the beating either. However authorities charged Frazier on two counts of cruelty to animals and two charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She is out of jail on $3,500 bail.

From Update: Kittens Beaten By Woman And Her Kids by Sharon Seltzer
*Pet Luv  has a donation site and FB page updates.. several times a day on Dexter’s condition
Florida’s Felony Animal Abuse Law is new and needs a precedent set that will deter anyone from this type of behavior! Let’s make sure that Dexter the kitten gets the justice that he deserves! petitions automatically close upon reaching  goal.,. but can increase or be lowered at any time,  before that occurs.!    We would like to increase in increments to 250,000!    Will you help in that goal and post it all over the civilized world,: join social networks and blogs,  animal activist sites.   A united stand: one voice, one World  that no people throughout the World will stand by without uttering a cry at this behavior!   98%of Florida cases are plead out to lesser charges  …Please, we beg you help prevent this from happening!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”
— Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

Teach your children well… Stephen Stills

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Pop Eater – ‘Road Trip’ Actress Mia Amber Davis Dies at 36

Posted by 4love2love on July 2, 2011

By Kiki Von Glinow  Posted May 11th 2011 01:40PM

Mia Amber Davis, known for her role in ‘Road Trip,’ in which she plays a voluptuous woman who seduces the geeky main character, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday, according to a TMZ report. She was 36.

Plus Model Magazine, where Davis worked as an editor, took to their blog to comment on her death.

“Mia was a super model and industry leader because it was her love for the women she represented that kept pushing her when the industry itself did not embrace her … Today we lost our dear friend, plus size model, industry leader and colleague but we have one more heavenly angel watching over us.”

The cause of her death has yet to be released, but TMZ has learned that Davis underwent a routine knee surgery in Los Angeles on Monday, a day before her death. Her husband, in New York at the time, tells the site that he spoke to his wife on Tuesday and she sounded fine, but hours later heard from a cousin that she was taken to the hospital with dizziness.

Not long after, he was informed that his wife had died. “I want to know what happened to my wife.”

© Copyright 2011 AOL Inc.

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Associated Press – Indefinite recess called in Casey Anthony trial

Posted by 4love2love on July 2, 2011

KYLE HIGHTOWER, Associated Press
Updated 10:35 a.m., Friday, July 1, 2011

Casey Anthony, right looks over papers in the courtroom with her attorney Jose Baez during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Casey Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge. Photo: Red Huber, Pool / APCasey Anthony, right looks over papers in the courtroom with her attorney Jose Baez during her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse Thursday, June 30, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Casey Anthony, 25, has plead not guilty in the death of her daughter, Caylee, and could face the death penalty if convicted of that charge. Photo: Red Huber, Pool / AP

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The judge in the Florida murder trial of Casey Anthony unexpectedly called an indefinite recess Friday morning so the defense could take depositions of witnesses the prosecution plans to call during its rebuttal case.

Judge Belvin Perry allowed the recess just before the jury was about to be called into the courtroom. Lead defense attorney Jose Baez said the state had failed to disclose all the information a computer expert and forensic anthropologist planned to testify to.

Baez wanted the evidence and witnesses to be excluded, but Perry only gave him the option of taking their depositions.

“Your honor, I will stay here and do the work, and stay here as long as it takes,” Baez said.

Anthony is charged with first-degree murder in the 2008 death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. If convicted of that charge, she could face the death penalty.

The witnesses are on the prosecution’s rebuttal list to challenge testimony offered by witnesses during the case presented by the defense, which rested Thursday. The state planned to call a handful of witnesses and rest again Friday evening.

Judge Perry said Friday morning that he’d planned to give attorneys Saturday to work on their closing arguments, but in lieu of the impromptu break for emergency depositions, would now hold court throughout the weekend, including Sunday. He warned the attorneys to not be wasting time with the late arguments.

“You can take as much time as you want, but we have jurors back there.” Perry said. The judge also said he hoped “this is a real problem and not an imaginary problem.”

While the defense rested Thursday, experts said defense attorneys may have left lingering questions and failed to deliver on promises they made at the outset to explain how the toddler died.

Casey Anthony did not take the stand and the defense did not present concrete evidence that Caylee wasn’t killed, but accidentally drowned.

Her attorneys also never produced any witnesses bolstering the claim made in opening statements that Anthony had acted without apparent remorse in the weeks after her daughter’s death because she had been molested by her father as a child, resulting in emotional problems.

“If you do not at least present facts to support that argument, the jury is going to think you have no credibility,” said Tim Jansen, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney in Tallahassee. “When you promise the jury something and don’t deliver it you severely handicaps your clients’ case and you undermine your credibility with that jury.”

Instead, their 13-day case primarily focused on poking holes in the prosecution’s contention that Anthony killed Caylee in June 2008 by covering her mouth with duct tape. Prosecutors said the woman dumped Caylee’s body in the woods near her parents’ home and then resumed her life of partying and shopping.

The prosecutors’ case relied on circumstantial and forensic evidence, and it did have holes. They had no witnesses who saw the killing or saw Casey Anthony with her daughter’s body. And there was no certain proof that the child suffocated.

What’s more, prosecution began its rebuttal case late Thursday by continuing to walk through the door opened Wednesday by the defense when it allowed parts of a note Casey Anthony’s father left during a failed suicide attempt to come in. The note included George Anthony asking questions about the death of his granddaughter. Several members of the jury were glued to their monitors as the prosecutor projected the letter for them to read.

“She (Caylee) was found so close to home. Why?” George Anthony wrote at one point in the letter to his family in January 2009.

The defense said in its opening statement that Caylee drowned and that George Anthony, a former police officer, helped cover up the death by making it look like a homicide and dumping the body near their home, where it was found by a meter reader six months later. George Anthony has vehemently denied any involvement in Caylee’s death, the disposal of her body or molesting his daughter.

Florida A&M law professor Karin Moore said she was “confused” throughout the case by the defense’s approach.

“The defense could have attacked George Anthony weeks ago on cross-examination during the state’s case, but waited until late in the trial,” she said. “I think they waited too long to ask the big questions and got themselves in trouble.”

The defense’s final witnesses Thursday included Krystal Holloway, a woman who claims she had an affair with George Anthony that began after Caylee disappeared. She said he told her in November 2008 that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.” George Anthony has denied having an affair with her but admitted visiting her home on several occasions.

They also recalled George Anthony to ask if he had supplied duct tape he used to put up posters of his granddaughter when she was missing. He said he couldn’t remember.

Baez also asked him if he buried his pets after their deaths in plastic bags wrapped with duct tape. Anthony said he had on some occasions. Prosecutors have said Caylee’s body was disposed of in a similar manner. Under prosecution questioning, he said he had never thrown their carcasses in a swamp.

The prosecution began its rebuttal case with photographs of clothing taken at the Anthony home. Court was adjourned for the day later in the afternoon, with prosecutors set to continue Friday.


Associated Press reporter Brent Kallestad in Tallahassee, Fla., contributed to this report.

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