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Monday's blog starts with a partial e-mail from my colleague Adam Housley. He was in Nicaragua recently and I asked him to send some pictures from his trip to post on the blog. Since I wanted to see the pics, I assume you do, too. Click on his photo essay link to the right of the text of this blog to check out his pictures.
E-mail No. 1
... Also, here are four pics from behind the scenes in Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We were the first major TV crew to interview Daniel Ortega in about three years, while there we also did some undercover stories about missiles and counter drug ops. The people and countryside are amazing. The camera (new gadget) is a Nikon D-50. The photog: me, sadly :-)
Picture No. 1: A typical home on the water for a family living on Nicaragua's
Picture No. 2: The old Catholic Church that stands vacant from the famous 1972 earthquake and from the Sandinista siege. It is an eerie reminder that the country has a long way to recovery.
Picture No. 3: These are the guys who have hardly any weaponry, but are taking on a multi-billion dollar drug business. They are Nicaraguans, but are risking their lives trying to help us! They are the members of the Nicaraguan National Police Force and they are supported by a couple of undercover members of the DEA.
Picture No. 4: These were our local chaperones for live shots. They hung with us in the sun for two full days.
While I am in the picture-posting mood, I have posted some pics I took in the last few days. The collection is random. I was in New York City on Thursday and Friday and took some pics inside our New York bureau. On Friday morning I attended the mid-year meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative and took a picture of former President Clinton and the current president of Nigeria. If you don't know anything about the Clinton Global Initiative, it is a collection of many people, from both sides of the political aisle who have made pledges to do humanitarian projects around the world. The mid-year meeting is a time to assess the progress of this year's pledges. It was also announced on Friday that at the next meeting first lady Laura Bush will be among the participants.
Here is some gossip: Laura Ingle, who did much of our reporting in the Scott Peterson trial and who is assigned to Geraldo's FOX Broadcast show, is officially a New Yorker. She moved mid- last week. When she first joined FNC, she was assigned to Dallas, but lasted there about 10 seconds. No sooner did she move there from her California home than Katrina hit and she was immediately "on the road." After the coverage wound down, she was assigned to the Geraldo show and that took her in different directions as well. She never unpacked her things in Dallas... and now she lives in NYC.
Now for some e-mails from you:
E-mail No. 2
I grew up in the Church of Christ. I even graduated from Abilene Christian University. And I cannot believe making an issue over calling someone a pastor. That's why people in the general public think Church of Christ'ers are so weird!
ANSWER: Bottom line for me is this: I want to get it right and I want to show respect. I regret when I make a mistake, especially about someone's religion or religious beliefs.
E-mail No. 3
Over the past few days I have seen some emails that I just feel I need to respond to. As a member of the church of Christ I just wanted to explain a few things. One e-mailer wanted to know why some have e-mailed you with explanations of scripture. Well, it's not that we are saying we are better then anyone else its just we are trying to explain where we are coming from on issues about calling a preacher a pastor. I will attempt to explain this. Our beliefs is that the church is to be led and run by what we call elders and another way to say it is pastors. The men who speak during service is called a preacher or minister. The reason that there is a BIG difference with us is that our preachers do not have any control over the church business that is left up to the elders or pastors. It's something that is a critical part of what we believe. It may seem like a play on words to some but to us if you say pastor we think you mean a leader. Matthew was a preacher not a pastor and he was not a church leader. He was hired by elders or pastors to preach sermons and give support to the congregation. The elders are the ones who make the ultimate decisions in everything. Now it doesn't offend me at all to hear someone that is not in the church of Christ to call a preacher a pastor because I know they just don't know and how could you if you don't go to the church of Christ, but to some it does. I hoped this helped.
E-mail No. 4
People, look up the word "pastor" in the dictionary.
E-mail No. 5
The fact that the Aruban police can just go get that car tells it all. They can do anything they want in Aruba including helping to cover up a murder if they want. I don't trust those authorities over there any further than I could throw my house! That's so ridiculous! Plus, they didn't even tell them they were coming to get the car! Unreal, but it answers a lot of questions about their laws and authority figures over there.
E-mail No. 6 — On Friday a viewer asked what "bitch slap" means. Another viewer, see below, found the definition:
Bitch-slap — The answer to the question for people who don't know how to use the search engine on their computer: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
E-mail No. 7
I was just thumbing through the April edition of the "Ladies Home Journal" and there is an advertisement on page 14 for Curves to enter a sweepstakes for a free trip to... Aruba! Kind of a slap in the face, don't ya think?
E-mail No. 8
Just a thought about Joran's shoes: they are a key to this mystery. I think he used his shoes to mark the spot where they buried Natalie's body. They could be tied up in a tree or in a bush — everybody is looking down — and it would make it easier to go back and re-bury her (as Dompig says). I also thought about the prosecutor Karin Johansen [sic] and Paul van der Sloot being more than just friends, hence all the breaks he and his son have gotten. Just a thought. Keep up the good work. Love your show,
E-mail No. 9
I feel Aruba has gotten a raw deal here and frequently find myself in heated debate on the subject. I must say though that with Dompig opening his big yap Stateside and hauling cars away while perpetrating publicity stunts — they're NOT helping themselves or me in my defense of them!
New York, NY
E-mail No. 10
This letter is for 'Greta Van Susteren' — hope she will see it.
Greta, I watch your show every evening. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not. But this time I want to send you a letter because something is starting to get on my nerves. I am 76. I was born Dutch, became an American citizen out of my free will in 1962. I am open minded, have followed the whole story about Natalee. I feel for her family, but I think this whole story has been blown so out of proportions. She is not the only girl who is missing. There are so many of them and we don't even hear of them. Let we keep it simple: She went with a whole group to Aruba, had fun (I know teenagers), the last night, they maybe had more fun, because it was the last night. She did drink, you saw that in one of the tapes and I don't think that was water. She left the nightclub with three boys in their car — that is asking for trouble. The next day she is missing and then the guessing is started, her mother goes to Aruba — I would have done the same thing. But the first thing she does when she sees Joran is yell at him, "What did you do with my daughter?" Here she accuses him already and that is the point where it all started.
I learned when I became a citizen that in America that you are innocent 'til proven guilty. She could have asked him: "What can you tell me about my daughter, you saw her last night?" Joran must have gotten very scared when she accused him — at 16 you are not that smart! I agree, starting to make up stories was not very smart, especially not when the media get involved (sorry, Greta). I watched every time I could and it was a circus!
Everyone knew something or had seen something, but nothing was ever found. The Aruba police were not good. The Dutch police were not good, they did not do anything, or they waited to long. Special "Jim" of your four-person team was very good in that ( but that is why he was a prosecutor).
I still read a Dutch Newspaper and believe me, a lot of people end up in jail in Holland, so they must do something right. But let me go back. The boycott was cruel for the people in Aruba. Travel is their lively hood and they lost a lot of income. Now I come 'til what make me write this letter. Last night when I was watching, you were talking about the TV show and "Jim's" laugh and remarks were demeaning. I know in Holland they have a TV show "Vermist" what means missing. They will duplicate as much as they know about the situation and hope that somebody will remember something and hope they find that person who is missing. Is that something to laugh about? Why would they do that program in English? People in Aruba speak Dutch and that program is for them... maybe by seeing every thing again as much as the things happened, someone will remember something! The three boys have been convicted by the media already, even after the long interview you had with Joran.
It is difficult to admit that maybe you are wrong. I am not telling you what I think, because that is not important, but people like you and your team have a big influence over peoples mind. Think about that.
I have said what I wanted to say, I hope you get this letter. But writing made at least me feeling better.
E-mail No. 11
Geez, maybe if everyone would quit making their own assumptions, and quit criticizing everything the Aruban or Dutch are trying to do, maybe they could get the case solved. Why doesn't Beth want to go talk? Is she afraid that in turn someone there will slap a civil suit on her like they did on Joran and his Dad? I agree with Mr. Fieger, they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. If the Twittys and Holloways want answers, then why do they keep griping about every new thing that comes up that just might help solve the case? We have "Americas Most Wanted," so what is wrong with the Dutch doing their version of it? At least give them credit for doing something! I really feel sorry for Beth, but she really does have or show on TV, such a vindictive demeanor now, and I know that can't help her situation much.
E-mail No. 12 — This next e-mail is "interesting." Is the e-mailer drunk or nuts? I am having a hard time deciding:
You are guilty of covering up 9/11 and will be held accountable!
E-mail No. 13
Hi Greta, I would imagine the real reason, besides doing the Aruba's Most Wanted special for the car, would be to remove the global tracking device on board. I have always assumed this would be a standard procedure in Aruba as well as in the United States. They were always tracking Scott Peterson and it was with global tracking that his behavior became apparent. Especially when he lied to his mother about his whereabouts. And the fact that he returned to the seen of the crime. Perhaps Dompig has more information then he is letting out at this time. Perhaps they are just days away from bringing Natalee home. Or Deepak had absolutely nothing to do with this crime and Dompig wants to get the tracking device back. I would find it difficult to believe there was know tracking of this car for the last 9 months. If that is the case, Dompig and the rest are really and I mean really a bunch of "Keystoned cops."
E-mail No. 14
Greta, I thought you would enjoy this. Leslie Ballin is a member of the pro bono dream team representing Mary Winkler.
(AP) MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Defense attorney Leslie Ballin called it the "jury pool from hell."
The group of prospective jurors was summoned to listen to a case of Tennessee trailer park violence. Right after jury selection began last week, one man got up and left, announcing, "I'm on morphine and I'm higher than a kite."
When the prosecutor asked if anyone had been convicted of a crime, a prospective juror said that he had been arrested and taken to a mental hospital after he almost shot his nephew. He said he was provoked because his nephew just would not come out from under the bed.
Another would-be juror said he had had alcohol problems and was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. "I should have known something was up," he said. "She had all her teeth."
Another prospect volunteered he probably should not be on the jury: "In my neighborhood, everyone knows that if you get Mr. Ballin (as your lawyer), you're probably guilty." He was not chosen.
The case involved a woman accused of hitting her brother's girlfriend in the face with a brick. Ballin's client was found not guilty.
E-mail No. 15
FYI: The house where the alleged rape occurred by the Duke Lacrosse team is owned by Duke University! All neighbors there have complained about its tenants for years and the officials at Duke ignored them all as long as the rent was paid on time each month!
Roger W. Wiggs
E-mail No. 16
This has been bugging me since the other night. Have police put two and two together that Jennifer's car looked like it had gone threw some mud/water puddles (by the dry dirt near her front wheels)? I picked up on that when you all flashed a photo of her car again. I live in Orlando, and everyone knows that it has been pretty dry down here... even around January. Just wondering. Thanks!
Finally, for some articles that caught my attention:
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