FINE POINTS OF TEXAS LAW
The Texas insanity-defense law requires that a delusional person acting under “orders” from God be judged not guilty by reason of insanity, but that a delusional person acting under “orders” from Satan be considered sane, according to prominent forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz, quoted in a June USA Today story. Thus, Dietz believed that Andrea Yates—at press time being retried in Houston—knew that drowning her kids upon command of someone “without moral authority” (such as Satan) was wrong and thus that she did not qualify for insanity-law protection. Dietz later concluded the opposite in another Texas child-killing case because God had supposedly assured that mother that her kids would be better off dead.
CAN’T POSSIBLY BE TRUE
During his 17 months’ federal incarceration in Atlanta, Wayne Milton sneaked out nights at least 50 times in order to continue the high-stakes mortgage-fraud business that had landed him in jail in the first place. In May, he received a fresh, 20-year sentence for having bribed the prison guards who allowed his freedom. The smooth-talking Milton (who deftly quoted the Bible, preying on small-town preachers in the South) is such a relentless promoter that within days of his re-incarceration, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report, he was secretly recorded on a prison phone lining up another mortgage loan.
NO LAUGHING MATTER
Speaking to an international medical meeting in Prague in June, Israeli fertility doctor Shevach Friedler said his research team had found that women exposed to brief entertainment by clowns were successful at in-vitro fertilization at almost twice the rate of women who had no clown exposure. Friedler, who is also a trained mime, attributed the difference to greater stress reduction.
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
Joseph Weir, 23, who confessed to New York City police in May to forcibly licking the feet of as many as 70 women, said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone but just wanted “to make them laugh and smile and open to talk to me.” “I get on my knees, grab their feet and bow,” he said, according to a New York Post story. “I compliment women, I bow to them.”
THE HOLE STORY
Enrique Mora of Montclair, Calif., said that within a few days of his gold detector’s having sounded in his front yard, he had dug a hole six stories down, but had come up empty. He said he had only planned to dig three or four feet, but got “carried away,” according to a June Associated Press report. And in Martinsburg, W.Va., physician John C. Veltman, 52, was arrested in May after he commandeered a backhoe and hit a building and a tree and crashed through two fences. Veltman allegedly told an arriving police officer, “I am a [expletive deleted] medical doctor, and you are below me.”
The Nigerian government began recently to warn its citizens traveling to Europe that those countries are full of scam artists. The travel advisory mentioned pickpocket schemes, but apparently European e-mail scams are less of a problem. And General Motors executives, trying to explain the dwindling stock market value of the company, have repeatedly complained of oppressive pension benefits owed under United Auto Workers contracts; however, according to a June Wall Street Journal investigation, GM’s fund for worker pensions is “overstuffed with cash,” while its fund for executive pensions is $1.4 billion in the red and getting worse. MTW