Saturday, March 28, 2015

TWIT: The last straw

I Hate TWIT...

Over the past 3 years I've had my criticisms of Leo Laporte and his TWIT podcasting network but in every case I hoped to offer constructive criticism without passing final judgment. 

I've said more than once, "I don't hate TWIT" because I really didn't want to take sides even if my observations appeared otherwise.

Sadly, that ended today.  My catalyst for judgement came after watching the latest Triangulation episode with Leo Laporte and his guest, Personal Capital ( and Paypal) founder Bill Harris.

Bill Harris is in a word (or more accurately a phrase) the typical Silicon Valley "Suit."  Which is just like your normal everyday "suit" but with the added facet of living in the delusional reality that is any business based in the Silicon Valley.

His resume includes not only his current gig, Personal Capital, but also Intuit, Paypal and even a stint with Earthlink among others.

Personal Capital is an online wealth management service that advertises on TWIT.  As such there's been plenty of ad copy over the last year praising its merits to varying degrees.  Of course it's not of much use to anyone who has a net worth less than 7 figures but who cares, right? 

But really, I could care less about Bill Harris, it's TWIT that's the problem.

The Cliff Notes version is this. 

This week's episode of Triangulation would make for a great "Meet the CEO" employee indoctrination video for Harris' Personal Capital.  In it Laporte fawned, gushed and feigned interest in a man who had as much in common with TWIT viewers as Justin Bieber's hair stylist.

It was for lack of a better word, disgusting. 

The whole interview revolved around tales of Harris and his millionaire buddies like Elon Musk flying around the country "effecting change" from their Lear Jets with regular calls to "Madison Avenue" to create the buzz on their latest antics.

So who is Bill Harris to the average guy watching TWIT?  Absolutely nobody.  Like I said, he's just another suit who happened to use his Harvard education at the right place at the right time.  Just another perpetrator of the Silicon Valley serial startup.  

In short he's not like you and you'll never have anything in common with him.  It's doubtful he ever had to live on ramen noodles or worry about paying off his student loans.   

However, If you're still interested, here's a link to his bio on Bloomberg for those of you with posters of Warren Buffett above your bed.

The dime-store summary of Bill Harris' career includes such winners as: Earthlink an early national  ISP,  Paypal, the de facto Internet payment service and TurboTax, the most recognizable name in tax preparation software.  

What do all these companies have in common? great marketing for so-so products...

Earthlink was among the earliest national dial-up ISP's and was also one of the first communication services to lock customers into multi-year commitments without any guarantee of service. If you think data caps are bad try being forced to pay for a service you can't even use...  

Then there's Paypal which was a good idea at the beginning but has earned the nickname "PayPay."  A label earned by the service (and its parent company Ebay) for high percentage fees and a tendency to tie up bank accounts on a whim.  

Then there's Intuit's TurboTax, which regularly makes headlines for screwing users out of tax refunds due to flaky formula calculations.  Lest we forget security holes that have left many a taxpayer on the hook with the IRS through no fault of their own.

That's the thing.  These companies were all good ideas at the start but have had troubled histories since.  However, I'm not suggesting that Bill Harris was directly involved with anything scandalous concerning them.  To the contrary, he's a "big picture guy" who gets out just before the lawsuits start coming in.  

Which means he's about creating wealth not social change.  If he happens to do the world a good turn in the process it's likely by accident.  He is a businessman, marketer and salesman.  Nothing more.

In the classic TWIT context his experience has no more in common with viewers than the average Wall Street CEO.  Meaning it's irrelevant information to the TWIT viewership

Ok, so my hatred for Bill Harris' resume aside, the point is this...

It's one thing to pander to advertisers, it's another to be their lap dog.  We've seen this behavior before but for me the final straw came before the start of the episode.

In the pre-show, Harris happened to notice that someone in the chatroom said something about "vomiting" which brought swift response from Laporte directing his studio flunkies to shut down the "chat" on set.  

That was followed up with threats of banning chat users and a statement from Laporte to Harris that effectively disparaged the value of the chatroom on TWIT. 

So in effect, Triangulation became Bi-angulation.

On more than one occasion Laporte has called the chatroom the third side of the "triangle" since the departure of co-host Tom Merritt.  

That makes its removal a violation of a sacred TWIT tenet and creates a void  that even Laporte's sizable ego can't fill.

Look, I get it, you don't want to piss off an advertiser especially if they may be a potential buyer for your failing enterprise.

However, passing off a corporate propaganda video as content is inexcusable.  Regardless of how interesting the life of Bill Harris may have been, the information is of little value when the interviewer has a vested interest. 

Meaning there's a bias in place that invalidates objectivity.  In the case of this episode of Triangulation, Laporte turned TWIT into a Bill Harris infomercial.  Perhaps Leo's really that enamored with the guy but it's far more likely he's protecting advertising revenue. 

Coincidentally, pulling the ads from TWIT was a joke Harris made repeatedly before, during and after the so-called "interview."

That's not friendly, that's Freudian suggestion my friends.

Because of this final and blatant violation of principle there can be no redemption for TWIT.  A line has been crossed and I'm off the fence now.

As the Shark Tank's Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary) often says,

"You're dead to me...  "

The episode has been provided below, judge for yourself.  Maybe you'll be inspired to go out and buy a new suit.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Corden's Late Late Show - Night 3 or Oh GOD let it end!

Night 3...

Show opened with yet another Conan ripoff.  A pretaped comedy bit Corden calls Carpool Karaoke.  Mariah Carey must have nothing better to do because she was stuck in the passenger seat for it.  We were subjected to 5 minutes of James Corden doing a sing-along with Mariah Carey who was really only there to get a mention of her upcoming album on the show.

What did we learn? James Corden can't sing and he's got no game...

Now on to that ugly couch again....

Tonight's guests were Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart.  Corden stayed true to his formula having both Hart and Ferrell on at the same time.  We learned that Will Ferrell recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which segued into a short comedy bit from Ferrell. 

Kevin Hart was there and that's about all we can say about that.  Will Ferrell on the other hand is virtually guaranteed to boost anybody's ratings.  True to form, he launched into numerous improv bits which was welcome relief to Corden's gushing. 

Intervening conversation included a deep discussion of the ass print Will Ferrel made in his latest movie, "Get Hard" which he co-stars with Kevin Hart followed by a clip from the film.

So far Corden's guests this week are by and large doing the current talk show circuit meaning their appearance is nothing special.  Ferrell and Hart, for example, are currently promoting their new film while Patricia Arquette was promoting her new series, CSI: Cyber.

The Jimmy Fallon rip-off bit tonight was a game called "Mind Link" with Corden playing emcee and Hart and Ferrell reading off note cards.  One set was questions and one answers and if the question and answer matched up it was considered a "Mind Link."


By the way, at one point before the game Corden said that if there was a "Mind Link" the patrons at the bar would get $100. 

Did I mention there's a bar on the set?  Yeah, it's just product placement for Bud Light so nothing to get excited about.  Now if somebody passed out at the bar or vomited during Corden's monologue that might be interesting...

Anyway, Corden promised that if a "Mind Link" happened that each patron would be guaranteed $100 which he calculated to be .27 cents a day for a year.  Apparently Corden doesn't have a calculator because .27 times 365 days only comes out to $98.55.  I'd be pissed if I didn't get my $1.45...

Back to the talk show textbook and again the show was brought to a close with yet another musical nobody.  This time it was an R&B group fronted by Leon Bridges only recently discovered at the drunkfest known as South by Southwest (SXSW.)  They weren't too bad, I'm sure they'll get booked for a lot of weddings now.

There were a few minutes left at the end of the show which Corden used to thank his guests and prove that he can add dancing to the skills he does not possess.

As I checked the schedule on it showed that Thursday and Friday's shows were pre-empted.  This is the middle of March Madness which is the likely cause.  That or a golf game.  This is CBS you know. 

In any case I find it a blessing.  I know I've been pretty negative on Corden but I honestly hoped I would have changed my opinion but if anything my initial assessment back in November has been confirmed.  This guy has no talent and CBS is just throwing money at his show to make up for it. 

Online reviews have been overwhelmingly positive which I find suspect.  Either the reviewers are completely without taste, blind or paid off.   I wouldn't put it past CBS to pay for positive promotion of Corden's show as it's virtually impossible to find anything critical of it.  From British newspapers to Variety and CNN, nary a discouraging word can be found. 

I know you've seen those commercials for cleaning up your online image.  I bet CBS has one of those in their contact list...

Nobody is that perfect, especially James Corden.  There's no creativity here and his show reflects it.  It's a cavalcade of poorly executed rip-offs of other talk shows seasoned with a bit of British "chat show."   I don't know whether it's Corden or CBS that's responsible but I'd be surprised if the show has half as long a run as its predecessor.

So I'm going to end the series here.  Honestly, there's just nothing more to be said and I really don't like spending too much time on negative topics.  

I'm done with James Corden and thank the lord for that...

This guy makes Seth Meyers look entertaining.

Grade F -----

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Corden's Late Late Show - Day 2

Night 2...

Came in a little late tonight.  There was a special on PBS about the Harvey Girls that was more interesting.  Even then I still managed to fall asleep in the middle of it.

Tonight's guests were Patricia Arquette and Chris Pine with musical group Modest Mouse.

The show opened with Corden on a ride along with a pizza delivery driver.  Each stop found bewildered customers suffering through bad jokes that included among other things,  a pizza made of Play-Doh, a  Mariachi band and a Sumo wrestler match in somebody's living room.

In other words, it was pretty much a rip-off of a classic Conan O'Brien bit just not as well done.

From there we moved on to the interview segment where just as the previous night, we found both guests seated on an ugly couch.

I didn't notice that couch on Monday but now that I do, I can tell you that it looks like something my grandmother would have thrown out somewhere around 1977. 

Ugly couch, really, ugly, couch...

Since tonight's guests included one of this year's Oscar winners and both guests had attended, the conversation was dominated by inane chatter and Chris Pine's emotional moment at the ceremonies.

Once again, nothing of substance came from the exchange as Corden fawned over his guests.  All we learned tonight was that Patricia Arquette has an Oscar, stars in CSI:Cyber and Chris Pine did a movie with James Corden once.   

In other words, Corden had switched from ripping off Conan O'Brien to gushing over guests a' la Jimmy Fallon.

I've noticed that Corden is a very touchy-feely kind of guy in interviews which I suppose is a very British thing but somewhat unnerving for guests.

There was another skit, this time with both Arquette and Pine supposedly playing a scene from the Young and the Restless found in a copy machine.  Weak premise even weaker execution...

There was some hope as Chris Pine repeatedly breaking things on the set was the only time I actually laughed.

The show wrapped up in typical late night formula style with a relatively unknown musical group performing an equally unknown selection from their catalog.  Tonight it was a band called "Modest Mouse" which I thought was aptly named as they had a modest amount of talent.

Tonight's show gets a D- but not because Corden got any better.  Chris Pine made me laugh during the skit which is the first time since the show debuted.  That had to be worth something.

I'm fairly certain that had I not committed to watching an entire week of Corden's show for the 12 people who read this blog, I'd have given up by now.

On to Night 3

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Corden's Late Late Show -- Day 1

A Willy Wonka Golden Ticket...

That's what greeted viewers of the inaugural Late Late Show with James Corden at the helm.  It came in the form of a prerecorded skit that featured the likes of Jay Leno, Meryl Streep, Shia LeBeouf and Arnold Swarzenegger as drill instructors in a kind of late show boot camp. 

Dripping in satire, it was an obvious acknowledgment of Corden's lukewarm reception since being chosen as the new host as well as the delay in his start date.

We were then introduced to the new Late Late show band headed by Reggie Watts best known as the strange sidekick of Scott Aukerman on IFC's Comedy Bang! Bang! 

While Watts probably would have been a better choice as host, The Roots ( Jimmy Fallon's house band) have nothing to worry about.

One thing was clear.  CBS is betting the farm on Corden with a star studded premier that included Tom Hanks and Mila Kunis as his first guests and a set that Craig Ferguson could only dream of. 

Taking a page from British talk shows, Corden chose to have both Hanks and Kunis on at the same time leading to what was at times a chaotic exchange.

Corden, Mila Kunis and Tom Hanks on Show 1

The interview itself was much less formal than the average late night fare with Corden eschewing the interview desk for a chair next to Hanks and Kunis.  

Aside from pressing for confirmation of Kunis marriage to Ashton Kutcher, the conversation stayed light and largely irrelevant.  It was evident that Corden was attempting to adopt at least some of Craig Ferguson's interview style.  That being a discussion less about profession and more about personal topics like family and children. 

But where Ferguson was relaxed and informal, Corden comes off more like a giddy schoolgirl gossiping with friends.  A trait sometimes shared with the Tonight Show's Jimmy Fallon.  But where Fallon has real comedic talent and an affable manner to offset his enthusiasm, Corden seems to just be "playing" host.  Of course he is a Tony award winning actor so it's really no surprise that he'd fall back on those talents.

In the end the only thing we learned from tonight's show was that Mila Kunis "might" be married and Tom Hanks has 4 adult children.  Nobody was expecting a Ted Talk but the whole exchange had about as much depth as rain puddle.

Ok, so maybe he'll get better.

Corden is a bit of a culture shock to Americans not used to British "Chat Shows" and is best compared to hosts like Graham Norton or Jonathan Ross than a Jay Leno or Jimmy Fallon.  British talk shows tend to have a more circus atmosphere with hosts more likely to dance on their desks than interview from them.  How that will go over on an American network remains to be seen. 

Graham Norton Show

I didn't suffer any such shock, however, as I've seen plenty of British "chat shows" and to be honest I find the format dull and self-serving for the hosts.  British talk shows have always seemed far more superficial to me than their American counterparts.  It was more about having the famous guest than gleaning any real information from them.

There was a tribute of sorts to Tom Hanks film career with both Corden and Hanks acting out (badly) characters from his films against a green screen backdrop.  Hanks seemed to be enjoying himself but then he's got nothing to lose unless someone comes up with a Cosby-esque scandal. 

The show wrapped up with Corden seated at a piano singing us out which was as uninspiring as his Letterman interview. 

So far I give Corden's premiere an F.  It was tedious to watch and if I'm honest he just wasn't that entertaining let alone funny. 

There might be an explanation for it, however.  His resume is steeped in theater and light comedic roles meaning he's used to playing at being funny.  Pretending to be funny isn't actually being funny.  For the first few months he can play off his inexperience and a format strange to American viewers but that can only go for so long.

At this point I'm not expecting anything resembling Craig Ferguson's Peabody award winning interview with Desmond Tutu. 

On to night 2...

I'm Giving James Corden a week...

Ok, so I know the topic of late night talk shows is about as relevant as the width of men's neckties in the grand scheme of things but I have something of an investment so bear with me.

I haven't had pay TV for about 2 years now which means my choices for non-interactive visual media are fairly limited.  Yes I know, there's YouTube, XBMC, Hulu and Twitch to name a few but to me those are very solitary experiences.  

There's great content to be had but all of those options are to me more like checking a book out of a library than going to a movie.  I just like the idea that I'm watching the same thing at the same time as a lot of other people.  A shared experience.

So I'm weird, whatever...

When I had Satellite TV, I could care less about who was hosting a talk show on CBS.  When Conan O' Brien left for TBS, it was the only show I'd even think about watching.  Even then it wasn't a regular thing as he was at his best back when he was doing late nights at NBC (pre Tonight Show.)  At least in my opinion.

As I mentioned earlier, my choices have become a bit more limited as of late.  That means I had to give broadcast TV another look.  At some point I happened onto CBS' Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  I was an instant fan.  Ferguson was plain spoken, irreverent and a natural entertainer.  

What I liked about him was that he didn't take himself or his show too seriously.  It never felt scripted even when he was forced to interview yet another Hollywood airhead.   He had a habit of tearing up note cards before beginning an interview which was a signal that this was not going to be the same scripted diatribe you saw on every other talk show.  It was like listening in on a conversation between friends.  The celebrities loved it and so did I. 

Ferguson had a run of close to 10 years and developed a kind of cult following not unlike Conan O'Brien.  Late night TV is the purview of those not quite in step with normal society.  Yeah, that means the stoners and the sub culture types but it also means the 2nd shift worker and the entrepreneur for whom clocks and sleep are a damned inconvenience.

To see the difference in audiences just watch a few of Ferguson's reruns on YouTube then watch one of the early morning news/chat shows like the Today Show.   Those giggly, empty talking heads drive me insane but that's what the cheery 9 to 5 types demand. 

I most unequivocally do not...  I hate morning people.  If you're the type that thinks 9PM is late then you should either be writing sermons or milking cows for a living.  

Think I'm wrong?  Then think about this.  Technology didn't advance much till the 20th century, know why? The damned light bulb that's why!  Without night people, you day people would inherit a world in flames!

But as always, I digress...

In short Ferguson was our kind of people.  Funny, direct and entertaining without pretense

But nothing is forever...

Ferguson decided to end his late night tenure last year with the final episode of his Late Late show airing on December 19th.  There was much speculation as to his replacement as his run had proven to be the most successful of any show in his time slot on CBS. 

Back in November, America was officially introduced to the new host of the Late Late show in the person of one James Corden.  He made an appearance on David Letterman's Late show which airs in the timeslot immediately preceding the Late Late show.  Letterman's own Worldwide Pants production company was behind both. 

When Ferguson left it was announced that Corden's first show would air on March 23, 2015.   The intervening 3 months found CBS scrambling to find a succession of guest hosts to fill in.  It also meant Letterman's production company had to continue being on the hook for the filler shows till CBS officially took over with Corden.

During one of those filler shows, Letterman was interviewed by guest host Regis Philbin and expressed irritation with the delay saying, "Where is he? Why are we talking to you?" "There aren't that many shows. How bad does he want it? Where is he?"

While Letterman is known for a dry wit, the comment was not made in passing but rather part of a much longer rant that included, "This guy... where is he? Is he even in this country? Don't you think that's a question that should be answered - where is the guy? I do."

Work ethic aside, it's doubtful anyone was really waiting with baited breath for Corden's debut.  His initial appearance on Letterman was uninspiring and yawn inducing at best.  

Anyone would be nervous in his position but Corden seemed more interested in his personal life than his new gig.  At the time I remember commenting that as nice a guy as he may be, he was the wrong choice.  It seems that CBS believes the formula for success is nothing more than a funny accent from somewhere in the British Isles and a fancy set.

So that's the backstory and for the next week I'm going to be doing short reviews of the new Late Late Show every day.  I'm going to give the kid a chance but I'm not holding out much hope.

Sunday, March 22, 2015


Heard about Meerkat? 

No not the small mammal, rather it's the latest thing in social

However, there is a correlation.  If you get a bunch of Meerkats together they're called a mob...

Who cares...

Blown up by drunk geek fandom at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Meerkat is the latest social darling embraced by the technorati. 

In a word it's simply an app (isn't is always..) that allows you to stream video to twitter in real time.  If you're amongst the social set and you have an Iphone there's little doubt that you've at least tried it out.

Look folks, there's nothing new here including the fresh round of 12 million worth of investments from hipster venture capitalists. 

Of course there's never been anything like it which explains the excitement...  Well, unless you've used Twitstreams or Broadcast for Friends.  Remember those? Yeah, me neither...

It's a live streaming app that only allows "live, no reruns" meaning if you want someone's stream later you'd better hope the budding documentarian uploads the video to his/her YouTube channel.   There is no cloud storage option. 

The only real difference here is that there's more bandwidth to waste now.  So everyone with an Iphone is streaming everything from their vacation to their lunch. 
Get ready for those realtime lunch videos!  Now you can watch every sloppy bite!  

Even celebrities have jumped onboard like the Today show's Al Roker streaming his haircut.  If watching Al Roker getting his head shaved isn't the poster child for the app I don't know what is...

I suppose you've "arrived" when Vogue gets excited about you....

So obviously I'm not impressed.  Not because I'm against innovation but rather I'm against useless fads.  Remember Flappy Bird? How about Vine?  Two more examples of million dollar ideas with absolutely no redeeming value.

That's what ticks me off.  I'm sick of apps that do nothing more than make users look more stupid than they already do.  Where's the benefit?  What's new here?  Nothing really, it's just another case of technology enabling a convergence between bad judgment and alcohol.    

In the end the only real winners are the developers and the cell carriers raking in the bucks when clueless users blow past their data limits.

There's nothing new here, move along to the next meme...

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Google: In Memoriam

Momofuku Ando 2015 doodle- Ramen Noodles inventor
Instant Ramen Noodles...

That's what the Thursday March 5th Goodle Doodle was all about...

Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles would have been 105 that day.  He was the man that brought the world that sodium rich staple of frat boys, frugal office lunchtimes and the culinary challenged everywhere.

To celebrate such inventions in the same light as the Polio vaccine and the light bulb is a stretch to say the least.  Google may be scraping the bottom of the barrel for the subject of their doodles. 

Is Momfuku Ando as relevant as Madame Curie or Einstein? Probably not but he does share one trait that appears to be noteworthy at least as Google Doodles go.

He's dead...

So is Jane Austen who would have been 240 this upcoming December 10th.  Laura Ingalls Wilder would have been 148 on February 7th and Leonardo da Vinci who would have been 563 on April 14th.

Einsteins Birthday Doodle 2003
They all had their birthday's celebrated in a Google Doodle too.

I can't remember the last time, if ever, that a doodle celebrated someone that was still breathing.  A friend offered up a possible explanation.  In short, the dead are not likely to do anything embarrassing.

I mean, consider if Google had done a doodle for Bill Cosby.  Regardless of his guilt or innocence it would have certainly put them in an uncomfortable place.  Just think of how those poor folks over at the Golden Globes or the Bob Hope Humanitarian awards are feeling right now.

Pfft, stupid awards, serves them right... but I digress.

So they stick to holidays, socially responsible observations like International Women's day, significant events like invention of the barcode and the first episode of Sesame Street.

Wait, the Barcode?  I guess that explains the ramen noodles thing...

You probably already knew this but if you sign up for Google services they'll honor you with your own doodle on the Google search page on your birthday. 

I don't' know if I like that.  After all, it puts me in the company of a bunch of dead people and I don't party with corpses.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The reason for the bloodlust

When I wrote the last line of my article on the Jodi Arias verdict I hadn't planned to write anything more about it.  To say I was disgusted with the festival of bloodlust is an understatement.  It was pathetic and disheartening. 

You need to know that my issue is with the mad rush to the gallows and not the conviction.  Is the death penalty warranted? possibly but when it's the preferred option we have to take a step back and examine our own values.

After catching an episode of Makers: Women who make America I had an epiphany of sorts.  It's a PBS documentary series that deals with different aspects of the female experience.  

This particular episode chronicled women who shaped and brought to light women's issues in America.

Ok, so what.  Just another PBS humanities study right up there with whatever Ken Burns is doing these days...

Where my epiphany comes in was the discussion of how women's roles are still in flux even after a century of progress.  Men by and large still hold a very 19th century view of women and in conservative circles even more so.

Remember, Arizona is a staunchly conservative state.  Gloria Steinem probably wouldn't find much of a fan base here but Phyllis Schlafly would probably be given keys to the Governor's executive toilet.

It's that characteristic that made me do a bit of digging.  Specifically, I was curious about women who were sentenced to death in the U.S. for capital crimes.  There are 27 states that embrace the death penalty and Arizona has ranked in the top half at #13 as recently as 2012.   

While it's still true that the overwhelming majority of death row inmates are male, the 1% or so that are female seem to have a few traits in common.  One is that their victims were usually a spouse or a boyfriend the other is obvious, they were men.   Another increasingly common factor is questionable prosecutions with groups like Amnesty International frequently becoming involved.

Conservative values are very much tied to a 19th century ideal and with that a definition of women's roles.   Much of the bluster you've seen in recent political campaigns is a reflection of those values.  

Which brings me back to the whole bloodlust thing...

You see, while a man has a roughly equal chance of life imprisonment or death row for killing a woman when the roles are reversed the odds can change dramatically.  In a state that leans conservative (like AZ)  women often find themselves running headlong into conservative ideologies when they challenge the status quo.

Now before anyone runs off on a tangent know this...

I don't suggest for a minute that Jodi Arias is innocent but I do suggest that the public reaction to her sentence had more to do with wanting to punish an "uppity woman" than justice for Travis Alexander.

It's not the crime, it's the attitude that's intolerable to their very core.  An attitude that those with such views feel must be punished.  Preferably with blood if possible.

I'm surprised I missed it the first time.  I must have been overcome by the vitriol.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Jodi Arias: No Blood for Blood

11 to 1... 

That was the vote that determined whether Jodi Arias' life would run the remainder of its course behind bars or come to a less natural end.  She was guilty as far as the law was concerned and of that there was no further deliberation necessary.  It was the last word on what seemed like a never ending trial that  took years for jurors to come the conclusion...that they could not come to a conclusion.

Luckily for Arias, Arizona only gives prosecutors 2 runs at the death sentence.  If 2 juries can't come to a verdict during the sentencing phase of a murder trial it's automatically a life sentence.

So justice is done and we can all go on with our lives.

What happened after the verdict..

Arizona's good at a lot of things: Superbowls, sunshine and cheap labor.  It's often celebrated as a land of rugged individualists who believe in freedom and self determination.  That is, so long as it's ok with your bible and you don't offend the wrong people. 

It's a place that would outlaw smoking but allow firearms in public buildings.  It's both nanny state and anarchist which often leads to a cognitive dissonance seen nowhere else in the country.

So with the end of a 7 year spectacle we finally know the outcome of Jodi Arias.  But that wasn't enough for the victim's family or for the other 11 jurors.  They wanted blood for blood and it was denied.  For them there is no justice.

Frontier justice, that is...

Arizonans seem to think they're living in a Louis L'Amour novel where convicts wear leg irons and sleep in tents no matter what the weather or the offense.  So I suppose it should be no surprise that jurors in a murder trial act like a lynch mob.

A stunning example of Arizona sensibilities was on display when the jurors delivered a prepared statement.  They offered condolences and apologies to the victim's family for not delivering what they wanted.  When asked how it felt to not deliver the death penalty the response was, "...we felt like we failed. " and " I had a knot in my stomach."


Where does this bloodlust come from?  To hear the statements of the 11 jurors who wanted the death penalty you'd think that jury deliberations were nothing more than a formality on the way to the hangman's noose.  

By the way, since when do jurors get press conferences? 

Hang 'em High! I suppose and sell the book rights later...

Afterward news outlets chased after the 1 dissenting juror demanding a statement and when they didn't get it they trotted out the non sequitur.

Everything from "suspicious" Facebook likes to questioning of her character.  Local news stations have stopped just short of accusing her of being an Arias shill.  I guess they've never heard of voir dire.  If this juror was a problem she would have been removed long ago as a number of others had been throughout the trial.  True to form instead of balancing their coverage, local news outlets chose to instead deliver more statements from the Gang of 11. 

"We tried to tell the judge she was biased" and "She kept to herself and wouldn't budge"

Is this really in the public interest or are the ratings better when they get another pound of flesh.  The talking heads are sensationalist whores, that we know.  What's disturbing is that they have to preach to the choir and in Arizona the choir wants blood.

Arizona, you need to admit that you really don't care much for the rule of law when it doesn't suit you.  From governors waving fingers at presidents who happen to be the wrong complexion to starving education funding it seems the Grand Canyon State is always inching closer to falling off the edge.

If there's any saving grace in this whole mess it's that the default judgment wasn't the death penalty.  At least there's some civility in that.

This isn't an indictment of captial punishment, however.  It's an indictment of the bloodlust it nurtures.