Friday, May 23, 2003

DME.COM reader's last meals...

The last post from L.A. for a while...

And to get in the Noo Yawk state of mind, we hear from Long Island. I didn't know they had Dr. Pepper in NY, but Ed B is a pepper.

Ed B., from Long Island, NY

Small chef's salad with bacon bits & russian dressing, a serving of lasagna with meatballs & sausage, garlic bread, Turkey (some breast meat & a drumstick), mashed potatoes, stuffing , gravy & a bun, three Dr Peppers with ice, and for dessert, 2 pieces of strawberry cheescake with graham craker crust and a large cappuchino extra light.

JR F. of parts unknown, (I guess the question in this case is not "Who Shot JR?", but, "Who Did JR Shoot?") in a move that is utter genuis, STARTS with the dessert.

For dessert, which at my choosing I will start out with cause what the heck, if I don't finish all my dinner I don't want to miss the best part of the meal...dessert. Breyer's Strawberry Ice Cream(served super cold), I'll pass on the generic two gallon pale of Penitentiary Ice Cream. I want the realMcCoy that which has the whole pieces of strawberry, just the way mom usedto make it back on the farm. Pepper Jack Cheese nice'n spicy served at roomtemperature, to provide a soft texture. Steamed Jumbo Crab Legs, Maine Lobster tails(not to big because they get tough), Jumbo Prawn Shrimp (allyou can eat of course). all with plenty of piping hot drawn butter and
fresh lemon wedges. (Forget the sides I am filling up on CHEESE, SHELLFISH and DESERT.

Lizz N. of parts unknown (though her use of Dangit, gives us a good clue)...reminds us that "alcohol and cigarettes are not allowed in the last meals of inmates in most prisons, I noticed a lot of people putting that in their requests. But I guess it don't matter cuz we're just pretending anyways huh?" We hope, Lizz, we really hope so.

Her last meal would be:

Prime rib medium well, horseradish, whipped mashed potatoes with sausage gravy, 3 croissants with butter, tomato soup, oyster crackers, a tall icey glass o' milk and a big hunk of white cake with lemon filling and white buttercream frosting.

Dangit, now I'm hungry! Knowing my impeding death was near I don't think I could stomach all that food unless HEAVILY sedated. Or after a few bong rips.

Has this judge seen the rest of Mississippi?

Judge Orders Reforms on Miss.'s Death Row


....A federal judge ruled that life on Mississippi's death row is so harsh and filthy that inmates are being driven insane, and ordered reforms that advocates praised as a precedent-setting breakthrough in prisoners' rights.

U.S. Magistrate Jerry Davis found Wednesday that the way inmates are treated at the Parchman prison constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

"No one in a civilized society should be forced to live under conditions that force exposure to another person's bodily wastes," Davis wrote in his decision. "No matter how heinous the crime committed, there is no excuse for such living conditions."

The judge instructed the state Corrections Department to undertake 10 actions to improve conditions including annual mental health checkups, better lighting, improved toilets, insect control and ways to keep inmates cool during the summer heat.

...Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, who has said he does not consider Mississippi's death row any worse than others across the country, said he will meet with Davis next week to challenge some orders and seek clarification on others.

"The Mississippi Department of Corrections respectfully disagrees with Judge Davis' findings," said Epps.

He shrugged off the allegations that something had to be done about sweltering prison cells. "It's hot in the Delta," he said. (Ed. Note: It sure as hell is.)

Sixty-six inmates are on death row at Parchman and a woman under a death sentence is at a women's prison unit outside Jackson.

They have complained about stifling heat and lack of ventilation. Davis said that if the heat index exceeds 90 degrees, each cell must be equipped with a fan, and ice water and showers must be made available to the inmates.

The judge said officials also should provide sneakers and a shaded area with access to water for exercise. Currently, inmates wear prison-issued flip-flops in individual pens for exercise.

USAT says Utah is looking for a few good gunmen And believe me, it's not for wabbit hunting season...

The highlights:

...The only state that dispatches condemned inmates by firing squad is assembling gunmen for back-to-back executions next month.

....The nation's last execution by firing squad was in 1996.

...Exercising their right under Utah law, serial killer Roberto Arguelles and Troy Michael Kell, a white supremacist who stabbed a fellow inmate to death, have chosen the firing squad over lethal injection and are set to die at 12:01 a.m. on June 27 and 28, respectively.

....Of the 850 inmates put to death in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976, two have died by firing squad, both in Utah: Gary Gilmore in 1977 became the first person executed in the United States after the court's ruling, and John Albert Taylor was put to death 19 years later.

Since 1977, Utah has executed four other killers, all by injection.

...Anti-death penalty forces are protesting, arguing that the firing squad amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. And the prison is bracing for large crowds of protesters.

Utah's use of firing squads predates statehood in 1896 and is a remnant of the early Mormon belief that bloodshed is a required punishment for taking a life, said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center, which says it is neutral about the death penalty but critical of its application.

...The Utah Corrections Department is recruiting law enforcement officers for two five-person firing squads, asking the police departments in the communities where the crimes were committed to nominate volunteers.

...A hood will be put over the condemned man's head and a target will be pinned over his heart. The executioners will fire simultaneously from gun portals in a separate room at the inmate, seated in a chair about 30 feet away.

One of the five rifles will contain a blank so that no one will know who fired the fatal shots.

The offices of DME.COM will be closed this weekend as we pack up and move to the Big Apple for a few months. We should be settled in and back at work about the time Oklahoma fires up the grill for Robert Knighton on May 27th.

So, enjoy today's post, have a great weekend and stay safe.

Oh, you want to know where in New York City the offices of Dead Man Eating are moving? Why, Hell's Kitchen, of course. (cue evil laughter)...

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

DME.COM reader's last meals.

Lord O. of parts unknown....Frankly, my reponse is Oh, Lord...

His menu:

1 16oz bear steak, 1 16 elk steak, pan fried tators, 3 cans ski soda1 pot cooked coffee over a open flame and a tray of diff cheese's

A couple from's own backyard...

jeff p., of jakarta (not our backyard) and los angeles (our backyard)..

okay. first course: smoked salmon and tuna with soy sauce and wasabi lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate lobster-fried rice in the Malay style, with a 12-pack of Mug root beer, so cold it hurts to kiss the edge of the glass AND a Niman Ranch rib-eye steak, cooked black and blue (charred on the outside,
bloody at the core) with a good knob of Irish Kerry butter melting over it AND a full order of chili-cheese fries from The Hat in Alhambra, jalapenos on the
side and a big glass of ice-cold milk (i'd finish it, don't you worry: the man can take my life, but he cannot take my appetite!!!!!) dessert? home-made mint and coconut ice-cream my friends are tricky- ONE of them could figure out a way to smuggle in a pint of vodka and a pack of Camel non-filters would say if you are going to The Hat in Alhambra, have the pastrami as well...

jeff also sent in a last meal for...

bernadine w., redondo beach, california

not that she would ever do anything wrong...lobster tails, crab-stuffed jumbo shrimp, mashed potatoes, home-made mac and cheese, green beans, biscuits with lots of butter...and a birthday cake with lots of butter frosting and fresh-brewed coffee.

Is there anything better than home-made mac and cheese?

REMEMBER THE HEADLINES SCREAMING OUT, that support for the death penalty was down. Uh, pass the white-out.

From the latest Gallup Poll, Support for the Death Penalty Remains High at 74%

The article is chock-ful-o-stats so check it out.


PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's latest update on the death penalty shows a continued high level of public support for the death penalty for those convicted of murder. When given a choice between the death penalty and life imprisonment as a punishment for murder, a slim majority also continues to favor the death penalty. Despite controversy over the death penalty that led to moratoriums in Illinois and Maryland, a growing percentage of the public believes the death penalty is applied fairly in the United States, and by a two-to-one margin, Americans say the death penalty is not imposed enough rather than imposed too often. Support for the death penalty is high despite the belief of most Americans that innocent people have been put to death in the past five years, although most consider this a rare occurrence.

The poll, conducted May 5-7, finds 74% of Americans in favor of and 24% opposed to the "death penalty for a person convicted of murder." Gallup has asked this basic death-penalty-support question since the 1930s. Support has been above 70% over the last two years, after having been in the mid-to-high 60% range in 2000-2001. The current number is the highest support level Gallup has obtained on this measure since May 1995, when 77% supported the death penalty. The highest support level was 80% in 1994, and the lowest was 42% in 1966.

Lots, lots more...

Monday, May 19, 2003

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO CAN'T MAKE IT TO THE UPPER WEST SIDE, maybe you can help this way. The Miami Herald has an article on "inmates seeking love and friendship beyond prison walls."


Inmates may be barred from seeking pen pals

TALLAHASSEE - Florida inmates seeking love and friendship beyond prison walls may be in for some heartbreak.

Frustrated by the proliferation of websites that post personal ads for convicts -- from jail and jail to ladiesofthe -- the Department of Corrections is seeking to prevent its 75,000 inmates from soliciting for pen pals, accusing some would-be Lotharios of scamming their prey.

''There is just so much of it out there, there is no way for us to monitor it all,'' said DOC spokeswoman Debbie Buchanan, who said the agency constantly fields complaints from pen pals who believe they've been conned by a convict. ``We're not prohibiting people from writing; we're prohibiting inmates from going out there and soliciting people.''

Under a proposed rule change that is drawing fire from prisoners' advocates, inmates would be barred from advertising for pen pals -- either by sending their pleas for companionship to one of the dozens of websites that post prison personals, or by sending the information to magazines that carry such personal ads.

...Prisoners who persist could receive up to 30 days in solitary confinement or lose up to 60 days of gain time.

...''These boys are just happy to have someone to talk to,'' said Bernice Hickey, 65, a Hollywood grandmother who writes to about 30 Florida prisoners. ``They get there, their parents have disowned them and they're lonely. What's so wrong with looking for people to write to?''

The Florida Justice Institute in Miami, a prisoners' rights group, plans to protest the rules change on the grounds that it violates inmates' rights to free speech.

''All they're asking is for people to write to them to relieve the burden of the Florida prison system,'' said Randall Berg, an institute attorney. ``All we do is warehouse these people. We've taken away all sorts of things from them. Do we really have to cut them off entirely?''

Prisons officials say they're protecting the public, not silencing inmates. Two weeks ago, Buchanan said, a woman wrote to DOC asking for details on a $750 prison class her inmate pen pal was taking. There was no class, Buchanan said, and DOC fears the woman was conned into sending the cash.

''They ask for money, people send them money, and when it all blows up, they want us to give them their money back,'' Buchanan said.

....''Jail Babe'' Tiffany, 28, serving a life sentence, lists her ''occupation'' as a model and says she enjoys ``skiing, horseback riding, poetry, camping, books, opera, sex, and romance.''

She adds this disclaimer: ``I am locked up and lonely!''

Now this, good Reverend, is a true crime of the state. That these jailbabes and jaildudes might be deprived of their god-given postal rights is a travesty. Where is my bell? I feel 33 rings coming on.

The NYTIMES has an article about a small group at a church on the Upper West Side that has held a vigil every time someone somewhere in the country has been executed. reg. req.

The highlights....

AT 6:05 p.m. Thursday, the bells of St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church tolled 33 times for two convicted murderers, Bruce Jacobs and Newton Slawson. They were scheduled to be put to death that day, one in Texas, the other in Florida.

As the bells rang, four parishioners stood on the sidewalk outside the rough-hewn stone church, at 87th Street and West End Avenue, bearing witness to the court-sanctioned killing of one human being by another. They thrust leaflets listing the names of the killers and their victims at passers-by.

....A small group at St. Ignatius has been keeping this vigil for the last four years, every time there has been an execution. They are part of a national movement, "For Whom the Bells Toll," of congregations opposed to the death penalty.

....Although the Upper West Side is probably one of the most liberal places in the world, even here this is not a popular cause. "It's often quite a lonely witness," said the Rev. H. Gaylord Hitchcock, the church rector, whose goatee makes his clerical collar look almost stylish. "I can tell you the popular reaction has been not altogether supportive. I've had messages on my voicemail, saying we were un-Christians."

....People ask, for instance, what is wrong with the punishment fitting the crime. "The moment I hear that, I hear it sung in Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Mikado,' and I love it," says Mr. Kuemmerle, who is not without a sense of humor.

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time
To let the punishment fit the crime
The punishment fit the crime
And make each prisoner pent
Unwillingly represent
A source of innocent merriment!
Of innocent merriment!

But if the object is to make the punishment fit the crime, he says, he would love to see some fitting punishments for what he calls crimes of state, like homelessness, poverty and ignorance. "I think the treatment of so many individuals in this society who have no resources and no expectation of any resources is criminal," he adds.

....The people at St. Ignatius not only preach, they listen. When their campaign began, they listed only the names of the convicts on their fliers. After passers-by complained, they added the names of their victims.

....The vigil lasts as long as it takes to repeatedly press the hospital call button, rigged by an ingenious member of the congregation, that causes the church's old iron bell to peal. The bell tolls once for every year in the life of the person being executed, or a symbolic 33 times, Christ's life span, if more than one person is going to die. Ringing the bells too many times has been known to annoy the neighbors.

After that, the protesters read from the Book of Common Prayer. Mr. Kuemmerle, the literary one among them, chose the verse. As other New Yorkers hurry by, they stand in a circle remembering two more lives abruptly ended.

Ed. Note: No matter what your view on the death penalty (and many folks are surprised to hear the editors of are against it, for reasons that are vast and varied) you would have to think these folks are loons. Quite honestly, I was looking for the Jayson Blair by-line. Gilbert and Sullivan?....Crimes of the state?...Ringing the bell 33 times because of Christ's lifespan? Wouldn't the Reverand and his flock's time be better spent battling these "crimes of the state?"

By the way, the NYTimes left out the crimes of the two men executed (or killed). No doubt an oversight. They were....

Newton Slawson: Slawson was executed for killing an entire family. Slawson killed a husband and wife, their two young kids, and their unborn baby. He sliced open the woman's body, taking her nearly full-term baby from her womb, shooting and killing it.

Bruce Jacobs: Jacobs was executed for stabbing a boy to death with a butcher knife on the youngster's 16th birthday. Jacobs forced his way into the teenager's Dallas home. The boy was stabbed at least 24 times and part of the knife blade was left imbedded in his body.

Christ-like, indeed.

The offices of DME.COM are moving to NYC for the summer. Could be a long one.