Tale of the Tape

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Sixteen minutes before Wednesday night's show, I received (while already seated on the set) an e-mail from my senior producer to call her immediately. I called and she told me that she had just spoken to a representative of the "Dr. Phil" show and the representatives of the show wanted us to know a few things (see below). To begin with, and as you may know, Dr. Phil paid someone (polygrapher Jamie Skeeters) to go to Aruba and investigate Natalee Holloway's disappearance. It is Skeeters' trip to Aruba that is at the center of a current dispute in the Natalee Holloway disappearance.

Jamie Skeeters, while in Aruba, had a taped interview with Deepak Kalpoe and there is now much debate about that tape and what Deepak did or did not say. Did Deepak admit on the tape to having sex with Natalee or did he deny it? On the "Dr. Phil" show, it was claimed that Deepak admitted on tape to having sex with Natalee. The authorities in Aruba disagree and assert that on the original tape Deepak actually denies, not admits, to having had sex with Natalee. Some authorities in Aruba now say that the "Dr. Phil" show — or someone — manipulated or altered the original tape of the interview with Deepak in order to create a false story for air. This is in sharp contrast to what the representatives of the "Dr. Phil" show assert.

Dr. Phil and his staff stand by the tape they aired and claim Deepak admitted — and not denied — to having sex with Natalee. A representative for the "Dr. Phil" show specifically said that the show 1) Did not manipulate the Deepak tape in any way; 2) Did not alter what Deepak said in any way and 3) That they would give us [today] the tape they worked from so that we could inspect it to verify what they were claiming.

The representative also said the show stands by its position that Deepak said on tape, "You would be surprised how simple it was...." The implication of that quote is that Deepak had sex with Natalee. When we listened to the generation of tape provided us the other night from Aruban representatives, our staff thought what was said was, "You would be surprised how simple it would have been." I have not been able to verify it for myself since the tape was received in New York City. Obviously we are anxious to hear the tape that the "Dr. Phil" show has now promised us, so that we can compare it to the one we were provided by the Aruban authorities.

We are also curious what the FBI has to say about the content of this interview. I was told by Jamie Skeeters on the phone the other night that he originally "taped" this interview directly to his computer hard drive and that he gave the hard drive to the FBI. Of course this hard drive — the "original" — is what will tell us exactly what was said or not said — provided it can be adequately enhanced and analyzed. We don't have access to that hard drive so even after evaluating all the tapes and CD's given us, there could still remain in my mind some question.

Bottom line: We are confused. Did Deepak admit to having sex with Natalee? If so, was she able to consent or was she too intoxicated by alcohol or drugs? (If she could not consent, it is rape.) Did someone alter or manipulate the tapes? If so, who did? Was it inadvertent or intentional?

Perhaps what is most distressing — besides the suggestion that someone altered a tape (whether that be in the U.S. or Aruba) — is that there is a debate over this taped interview. The tape is not powerful evidence in my eyes, but since it appears to be almost the only evidence, it has become potentially very important. You would hope that an investigation could amass more powerful evidence — hair, fiber, blood, eyewitnesses, surveillance tape, etc. And yes, there is such a thing as a perfect crime. Some crimes, despite diligence and desire, cannot be legally proven. I am hoping that Natalee's disappearance is not one of those rare perfect crimes. I am curious if the police and prosecutor in Aruba have more evidence and how aggressively they are working... I wish they would communicate, but not to the point to jeopardize the investigation.

Now for some randomly selected e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

Dear FOX News Team,

My family and I would like to extend our extreme gratitude for all your efforts regarding the murder of our parents. Since being interviewed by your station, the police and investigators have stepped up their efforts to solve the case. It is our hope that the media coverage will lead to an arrest.
Thanks again and God bless everyone of you.
Martin Rodriguez,
SFC, U.S. Army Reserve

E-mail No. 2

Dear Greta,
I wish you would pull your hair back with a clip or something. Sometimes you look nice and other times, you look like an old hag. I think Natalee's mother looks like an old hag all the time. That hair of hers combed straight down on each side is not becoming at all and it looks like string. I think it has been colored so much that it is no longer pretty. Anyway, I get tired of seeing her on your program which I seldom watch now because you have her on so much and all she does is complain. If her daughter had behaved herself and not drank so much and gone into a strange car with three men, none of this would have happened. She should have known better. It is all her fault, I think, and it has caused the government millions of dollars to try to find her and all she does is complain from the very beginning. They don't like her and neither do we. It is not the government's fault that she took off with strangers. She goes there and it has been trouble for everyone. It is funny how one little girl can ruin so many people's lives besides her own just because she drank too much. I image the sharks got her or she has been taken to another country. I just wish they could find out and everybody go home because she is hurting your program as far as I am concerned. You are trying to help Beth and we are tired of her and her voice. I'll be glad when it is over with. We never learn anything new or important. It is just the mother fussing and fussing. I wonder if they really have to continue looking for her daughter? She is not a citizen there so are they obligated?
Thank you for listening.
Margaret [Frederick Wilson]

E-mail No. 3 — To "get" this e-mail, you must read Wednesday's blog:

Perhaps Deepak got the movie offer from your husband's "new" wife after he cashes in on the land deal.
Jim Bannon
Mahopac, NY

ANSWER: You could be right. I need to investigate this!

E-mail No. 4

And, I'm very suspicious of the Netherlands forensics lab, ohhh 'just me but, I don't trust any of the Aruban or Dutch technical teams — they're too close-knit.

E-mail No. 5

Hey Greta,
I love the movie deal rumor? That's a new one. It's too bad this misfortune had to happen in Aruba. I still think if it would of happened here, we would of found her by now or had those three, maybe four in jail right now and kept them there.
The family needs fresh blood in there... the chief prosecutor needs to step down and change the prosecuting team. They are just twiddling their thumbs and wanting this case to go away!
I wish the prosecutor would talk to Beth and the family. If they want to set the record straight, she should also go one-on-one with you or the American media.
Rocklin, CA

ANSWER: I would like to know more about the investigation before I decide they should "clean house" and get new investigators. Unfortunately since there is so little information coming out of Aruba we don't know if they are aggressively working on the case or not. At this point, my criticism is the lack of communication channels.

E-mail No. 6

How you anger me when you get involved in the war business. It's evident you don't have a clue! How do you find — of all the willing and useful military leaders and former leaders of our nation — the ones who are so liberal they can't agree if there was a miracle and the Lord showed up and told you Bush is doing just great! I detest your bashing of our president! He was elected. He gave a fine speech! He needs no editing by you or whomever you dig up! I am not one who thinks all former officers are great guys! Saddam was a former officer!
If an officer doesn't follow the leadership of the commander-in-chief he isn't worth his salt.
President Bush is quite capable of carrying out this war, he had the vision, and there is not a soul on earth who could have done it better. Get real, please! There are good officers, and tons of good news from Iraq. Why don't we ever see any of it from your show? I think you'd better stick with news from Aruba if you can't do better by our president. He is awesome! He is the most successful president ever with fewer losses of men! And, he has worked miracles with the economy with about seven of the worst natural catastrophes ever. You are blind! And, he had to do it with lying liberals making propaganda and coming out of the woodwork with a very liberal media promoting it! How terrible for this world!
Patricia Hammond,
Nine Mile Falls, WA

E-mail No. 7 — The "AA segment" below is not Alcoholics Anonymous... but Alan Alda:

Loved the AA segment two nights ago. Alan Alda actually lives two towns away (Leonia, NJ) from me in New Jersey. (In NJ, towns are about two miles away each.)
I would never thought of buying his book until you said that you liked the book.
I did think of having my dog stuffed when she was put down, and then thought better of it. Couldn't imagine having her sitting on the fireplace step with her paw up, begging — too sick. Also, loved your segment with the animals. You obviously, like animals. Great show of inner character.
Happy Holidays,
Lynn Liaskos
Englewood Cliffs, NJ

E-mail No. 8

I would like to bring to your attention something you said on Tuesday night — November 29 in the tease phase before introducing Alan Alda. You said ,"He had a near death experience." My ears perked up for I am very interested in hearing about other peoples story on this subject. When he told his story of getting ill there was no mention of a near death experience. He may have had a life-changing event that happen to him but that is not a near death experience.
I had a heart attack four years ago and the next day suddenly I went into cardiac arrest they used the paddles several times to bring me back. I experienced a near death experience that occurs when your soul or spirit leaves the physical body and they only have two or three minutes to bring you back without causing brain damage or death.
A near death experience is the part where you visit the other side, see a bright light, relatives that has passed or going in the tunnel. It can occur in several different ways for different people.
I never heard Alan talk about a NDE or out of body experience.
I am sure his sudden illness was life changing but I just wanted to make this correction for the record. That was my lucky day — if I had been anywhere else except where I was in the cardiac ICU, my doctor said my life would have been over not many people survives cardiac arrest.
Watch your show every evening and enjoy it very much.
Patty Weikart

And now for some Associated Press articles that caught my attention:

Article No. 1 — This story is one that I follow closely. Like many others, I find myself addicted to my BlackBerry and wonder what is the future... read on:

Judge Rules Against BlackBerry Settlement
By Stephanie Stoughton, AP Business Writer

A federal judge ruled invalid Wednesday a $450 million settlement between a small patent holding firm and the maker of BlackBerry e-mail devices, Research in Motion Ltd.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer is a victory for NTP Inc., an Arlington company that contends the technology behind the popular BlackBerry infringes on its patents.
Canada's RIM had sought to uphold the settlement, which was reached earlier this year. NTP argued that it was never finalized.

As expected, Spencer also denied RIM's request to delay the case while awaiting word from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which is re-examining NTP's patents. The patent office has preliminarily rejected the patents at the core of the lawsuit.

Spencer's decisions raise more uncertainties for BlackBerry users in the United States, where most of the company's 3.65 million customers are based. The judge could next consider re-issuing an injunction that threatens to shut down BlackBerry service in this country.

However, analysts and industry observers expect RIM could be backed into a corner and forced to settle for a sum as high as $1 billion.

"It was pretty much as predicted, and it indicates that Judge Spencer is going to move swiftly to conclude the case," said James H. Wallace Jr., an attorney for NTP. "We would hope that these developments would bring the parties back to the table to resolve this matter."

When asked whether U.S. BlackBerry users might see an end to their service, Wallace remarked that RIM officials "own the keys to their own jail."

An attorney for RIM did not immediately return a telephone message.

The Nasdaq market halted trading of BlackBerry's shares just before the ruling was made public. The stock's price rose 36 cents to $65.28 before the halt.

Spencer said he would be communicating with both parties to set up a hearing date and briefing schedule "on the remaining issues of injunctive relief and appropriate damages."

The judge has grown impatient with the long-running patent case. During a Nov. 9 hearing, he said that he had spent enough of his "time and life involved with NTP and RIM." On Wednesday, he expressed similar frustration.

"Drawn out discovery disputes, claim construction issues, multiple motions for summary judgment, countless pretrial motions, and many evidentiary objections set the tone for a complex, contentions path toward a resolution of this case," Spencer wrote in his opinion.

NTP was co-founded by Thomas J. Campana Jr., a Chicago-area engineer who in 1990 created a system to send e-mails between computers and wireless devices. He helped form NTP to protect his work.

In 2002, a federal jury in Richmond agreed that RIM had infringed on NTP's patents and awarded the smaller company 5.7 percent of U.S. BlackBerry sales. Spencer increased that rate to 8.55 percent. The amount of damages and fees had reached $210 million at last count.

Article No. 2

Researchers Convert Chicken Fat to Fuel

Fuel is the thing with feathers. Hoping to find an efficient way to help power automobiles and trucks, researchers at the University of Arkansas say they have developed a way to convert chicken fat to a biodiesel fuel.

"We're trying to expand the petroleum base," said Brian Mattingly, a graduate student in chemical engineering. "Five to 20 percent blending of biodiesel into petroleum-based diesel significantly reduces our dependence on foreign oil."

Mattingly's research allows biodiesel producers to assess different materials to see what works best. Producers will be able to choose the best way to convert different grades of chicken fat into fuels.

R.E. Babcock, a professor of chemical engineering, said chicken-fat fuels are better for the environment and the machines.

"They burn better, create less particulate matter and actually lubricate and clean things like cylinders, pistons and fuel lines," Babcock said.

Traditionally, biodiesel producers have used refined products like soybean oil because they are easier to convert to fuels. However, the refining process makes soybean oil more expensive - and fuel producers must compete with grocers for the oil supply.

Chicken fat can be a less-expensive substitute because it is available at a low cost. However, fatty acids in raw chicken fat can lead to the creation of soap during the various chemical processes.

In his studies, Mattingly used high-quality fat (less than 2 percent fatty acid content) and low-quality, feed-grade fat (6 percent fatty acid content) obtained from Tyson Foods Inc. plants in Clarksville and Scranton. The high-quality fat is more expensive than the feed-grade fat, but both are less expensive than soybean oil.

It took different steps to refine the different fats, but it could be done, Mattingly said.

"The project demonstrated that there is a very fine line between facilitating an adequate reaction and generating so much soap that the biodiesel yield is diminished," Mattingly said. "Basically, deciding which method to use comes down to economics."

Michael Popp, an associate professor of agricultural economics, said it is too early to tell if making biodiesel fuel from chicken fat is economically feasible.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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