Tue
Nov 21 2006
12:25 pm
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

Remember when Ann Coulter "joked" about putting rat poison in Justice Stevens' dessert?

Coulter had told the Philander Smith College audience Thursday that more conservative justices were needed on the Supreme Court to change the current law on abortion. Stevens is one of the court's most liberal members.

"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee," Coulter said. "That's just a joke, for you in the media."

Looks like someone was hip to her vibe.

Barbara Joan March, a 61-year-old Connecticut resident, was sentenced last month to 15 years in prison for mailing letters "containing either a baked good or a piece of candy laced with rat poison" to the nine justices...

The FBI has a press release dated October 11 which details the case. Justice O'Connor was apparently making references to this arrest in public last week, which brought this item to the fore.

A 61-year-old woman from Bridgeport, CT just doesn't fit the Bush Administration profile for a terrorist, huh?

We're fighting them "over there," etc.

Food for thought.

Cary Grant: "Aunt Abby, how can I believe you? There are twelve bodies in the cellar and you admit you poisoned them."

Josephine Hill: "Yes, I did. But you don't think I'd stoop to telling a fib."

Topics:
Brian A.'s picture

Release of news

Funny how little media attention this story has gotten, presumably due to the "half-baked" nature of the threat.

In contrast, imagine what the TV news reaction would have been if, at the time, word leaked out that someone had tried to poison the Supreme Court (without the all the details).  I can just see the breathless reporters and all the flashing red graphics as our serious journalists speculated on which Islamofacists may have been involved.

Brian A.
I'd rather be cycling.

talidapali's picture

Honestly...

I certainly think Ann Coulter shares some of the blame for this woman's actions. Will she ever be charged for complicity? Probably not.

But then...voter fraud is a good charge too and it certainly looks as though the Florida Election Commission officials are going to press charges against her for that 2004 voting fiasco of hers.

 

"You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White"

UnderDuress's picture

Well ... let's just see

Well ... let's just see about fixin' some stupid here. And unspinning the spin. Except that the facts make this story ever so much less interesting ... but what the hell.

First of all, this occurred BEFORE Ann Coulter made her remarks about Justice Stevens' creme brulee in January 2006. Ms March came up with her idea either all on her own, or from other sources in 2005.

Secondly, Ms March's target was not the SCOTUS (and chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; and the director and deputy director of the FBI ... when did Coulter voice wishes for their demise again?) but rather the people who's name she signed to the notes attached to said goodies warning that they were laced with poison.

At the bottom of page 6 in the sentencing memorandum:

Third, the defendant's conduct does not appear to have been motivated by any personal, political or professional animosity toward the intended recipients of the letters. Rather, interviews with the purported senders of the letters, as well as factors cited in the presentence investigation report, suggest that the defendant's conduct likely was motivated by a misplaced anger toward the purported senders of the letters, former friends and colleagues who in the defendant's mind somehow had abandoned or wronged her.1 See Presentence Investigation Report at ¶88. The fact that the defendant chose to mail the letters to high-level public officials in a misguided attempt to cause more harm to the purported senders has increased her sentence by approximately five years.2

Nice try though ... C+ for effort.

rikki's picture

abandon hope for future plans

C+ for effort

Tough break, Andy, you're now overqualified for being a decider. 

UnderDuress's picture

Do you think you could at

Do you think you could at least TRY to address what I actually said, rather than inject your own agenda and try to argue points I never raised?

redmondkr's picture

I think the original article

I think the original article was meant to suggest that public figures espousing such actions, even in jest, could inspire nutters to deeds such as those of Granny March.  The timing suggests that she wasn't inspired by Ms. Coulter's bile; maybe it came from here.


"Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves." - Carl Sagan

Andy Axel's picture

Speaking of which...

Do you think you could at least TRY to address what I actually said, rather than inject your own agenda and try to argue points I never raised?

Take your own advice.

First of all, this occurred BEFORE Ann Coulter made her remarks about Justice Stevens' creme brulee in January 2006. Ms March came up with her idea either all on her own, or from other sources in 2005.

I only said that Ms. March was hip to the same vibe. I never said that one resulted in the other, although it's curious that two women from Connecticut would independently come up with the idea of rat poison in judicial sweets. Don't you think?

Still, with all of the eliminationist rhetoric flying around in the wingnutosphere, I am unsurprised that we're finding domestic terrorists springing up and assaulting prominent liberal spokespeople and public officials. I am saddened -- but not surprised.

Hey, speaking of which, has the WoT yielded an arrest in the case of the anthrax mailer? Or does terrorism follow IOKIYAR rules?

____________________________

I don't know the meaning of the word "surrender!" I mean, I know it, I'm not dumb. Just not in this context.

UnderDuress's picture

Why bring Coulter into the

Why bring Coulter into the subject at all? Just because she voiced a similar thought almost a year later? Because she lives in the same state? That's quite a stretch you know. It's as relevant as the comment by talidapali is to your original post:

Honestly...
Submitted by talidapali on Tue, 2006/11/21 - 12:33pm.
I certainly think Ann Coulter shares some of the blame for this woman's actions.

There are plenty of other things to bash Coulter with, that are genuine and relevant. Going after this one just seems silly. You might as well blame her for the poisoning of that Russian fellow too.

I don't see how Ms March's actions can be equated with terrorism. Once again, that is a real stretch ... for rhetoric's sake. She is obviously a disturbed individual striking out at people she believes are the cause of some amount of grief to her. That she used the SCOTUS, Chiefs of Staff and the FBI (why are those last two groups being ignored?) is just how she chose to strike out at those people. It could have just as well been sports or media celebrities, local politicians or public figures. As a partisan subject, this is a non-starter.

Andy Axel's picture

I don't see how Ms March's

I don't see how Ms March's actions can be equated with terrorism. Once again, that is a real stretch

Attempted terrorism is no less an act of terrorism, is it not? Or does she have to be successful before she's called a terrorist?

There are plenty of other things to bash Coulter with, that are genuine and relevant. Going after this one just seems silly.

Threatening people with harm because of their political beliefs is a legitimate complaint that I, among many, have with "Ms." Coulter.

I know she has legions of adoring fans who think that her bon mots about imprisoning liberals and committing genocide and blowing up newspaper buildings is cute. I don't count myself among her fans, and I don't think any of those things is worth joking about. This shit is getting out of hand. Suppose Chad Castagana had access to weaponized anthrax...?

I don't really care which happened first -- did you think that crack about poisoning Justice Stevens was funny or appropriate?

She is obviously a disturbed individual striking out at people she believes are the cause of some amount of grief to her. That she used the SCOTUS, Chiefs of Staff and the FBI (why are those last two groups being ignored?) is just how she chose to strike out at those people.

Why all of this apologism for a convicted criminal? What's your stake in all of this?

____________________________

I don't know the meaning of the word "surrender!" I mean, I know it, I'm not dumb. Just not in this context.

UnderDuress's picture

Apologism? Huh? Where? Ms

Apologism? Huh? Where? Ms March is fully and wholly to blame for her actions and I do not see where I stated otherwise. But she is no terrorist, criminal yes, and she is being made to pay for her crimes, with the added bonus of extra sentencing for her "intent and motivation" ... kinda like that whole "hate crime" thing. She was striking out at individuals, named individuals. Perhaps a revisit to M-W.com for a refresher in the definition of terrorism is in order?

Trying to factor Coulter into this is just stupid. It is irrelevant. If you wish to address her asinine remarks re: Stevens, do so. But trying to tie those to March and her crimes is disengenuous.

Be careful you don't hurt something while you are doing all this stretching. It really looks painful.

Sven's picture

Perhaps a revisit to M-W.com

Perhaps a revisit to M-W.com for a refresher in the definition of terrorism is in order?

ter·ror·ism (tĕr'ə-rĭz'əm) n.

The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person of color, often for ideological or political reasons.

rikki's picture

racist definition

"by a person of color"!? Is that from the Michael Richards dictionary? What's up with that?

March mailed the poison candies in order to try to get the person listed as the sender in trouble. Her targets were not the recipients, but the false return addresses. She included a note warning the recipients about the poison. It's not terrorism.

Sven's picture

sar·casm (sär'kăz'əm)

sar·casm (sär'kăz'əm) n.

A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.

rikki's picture

disqualification

The phrase "a form of wit" rules out that definition of terrorism as an instance of sarcasm.

Sven's picture

Wit, n.The salt with which

Wit, n.

The salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.

Andy Axel's picture

Trying to factor Coulter

Trying to factor Coulter into this is just stupid. It is irrelevant. If you wish to address her asinine remarks re: Stevens, do so. But trying to tie those to March and her crimes is disengenuous.

I note a similarity, and I stand by it. I believe I noted that they're in the same intellectual mindspace, they come in roughly the same time period, and I believe that it's worth pointing out the similarity.

You don't like it? Oh well. I think it speaks volumes that you rise in defensive, pearl-clutching, finger-wagging indignation to a mere observation. Someone says "someone ought to poison a Supreme Court justice" at the same time as someone sends a warfarin-laced snack to every member of the Supreme Court, as well as others. Wow.

Sure, it's coincidence. But the coincidence is profoundly odd. Y'know, I don't even know if Ms. March had ever read a word of Coulter's work, if she was a fan, whatever. Doesn't matter to me. In such case, I find these parallel cases even more interesting.

There are a lot of hate-filled vermin attempting to direct our public discourse, and there are hate-filled vermin out there acting out their eliminationist fantasies. Maybe the twain don't ever meet. Maybe they didn't meet in this case. They are, however, sympathetic to one another.

Maybe that's why Ann Coulter retains such popularity -- because she plugs into this deep well of hostility, resentment, and rage and speaks to it. She connects with credulous, frustrated, angry loners and speaks into their black souls, and her words resonate with them.

Independent of that, there are people who craft plans to punish their enemies by sending poisons to public officials. It just so happens that this very idea is the same one proposed -- in "jest" -- by Scaife's favorite harpy.

Creepy stuff.

____________________________

I don't know the meaning of the word "surrender!" I mean, I know it, I'm not dumb. Just not in this context.

talidapali's picture

I take issue with...

the atmosphere of intimidation that Ann Coulter's past statements have engendered. Her irresponsible and reckless utterances of excrement have created an atmosphere of encouragement for unbalanced people to act upon urges. She makes it okay to hate those of opposing views, and actively encourages physical harm and intimidation of those very same people. She does share the blame each and every time an unbalanced person with right-wing leanings goes out and tries or accomplishes an attack on innocent persons who merely express a viewpoint that is not in agreement with Ms. Coulter and the right-wing agenda and talking points. 

"You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White"

UnderDuress's picture

And that has WHAT to do with

And that has WHAT to do with Barbara March's actions?

You know .. the topic being discussed?

talidapali's picture

...

 Done going in circles with you...if you can't see how Ann Coulter's vomited hate speech relates to this topic then it is a waste of my time to spend any more time on this thread.

"You can't fix stupid..." ~ Ron White"

Sven's picture

... But what's really funny

... But what's really funny is how many people are willing to rush to Coulter's defense, claiming the charges against her are lacking...nuance.

UnderDuress's picture

Funny how words are put

Funny how words are put where they don't exist. Just who is defending Coulter? Not I. I am pointing out though, that if one wishes to take an effective stance against the woman, one just might look to make what they say relevant. Connecting what Coulter said in January 2006 to an event that occured 8 months EARLIER that is only vaguely related is crazy and detracts from any argument one might make because it just makes one look foolish.

Sven's picture

Perhaps this it nitpicky,

Perhaps this it nitpicky, but when one starts to parse precisely which public officials Coulter has wished death upon, someone else might get the impression you're defending her.

UnderDuress's picture

Let me know when you are

Let me know when you are able to respond to what I DO say ... rather than what you wish I said.

Andy Axel's picture

Physician, heal

Physician, heal thyself.

____________________________

I don't know the meaning of the word "surrender!" I mean, I know it, I'm not dumb. Just not in this context.

UnderDuress's picture

OK, so where was I "parsing

OK, so where was I "parsing which officials Coulter was wishing death upon"?

And then, if you wish, we can start recounting death threats and wishes, and recounting who said what. To make things really interesting, we could even make tenuous connections to real incidents, imagined or real. Seeing as how the left seems to lead the way with violent wishes, racism, misogyny, religious intolerance, gay bashing and all sorts of miscellaneous ugliness, do you really want to go there?

Andy Axel's picture

Sussing the handle

Indeed.

Y'know, I was trying to suss out what the handle might mean. After all, there's no "UnderDuress" registered at FreeRepublic, near as I can tell...

Then it occurred to me -- ah, thanks to the recent troll outbreak, we require users to register before posting as of this week. So this one registered "under duress." The shiny new perimeter claims its first tatters of fur.

Must be a real inconvenience not to be able to commit drive-by posting here anymore, huh? You can thank your brethren on the right for making that necessary, U.D.

(FWIW, metulj, I saw that Brittney linked this post from NashvilleIsTalking, which might explain the sudden appearance.)

____________________________

I don't know the meaning of the word "surrender!" I mean, I know it, I'm not dumb. Just not in this context.

Eleanor A's picture

Too bad we can't make

Too bad we can't make wholesale transcribing of RNC talking points a bannable offense, darnit. I figure this latest Rushbot will probably get himself banned all by his ownself sooner or later anyway. Probably sooner, to judge by the way things are going.

cafkia's picture

Interesting

It is pointed out to Ms/Mr Duress the similarities in stated and actual methodology, geography of domicile, target profile, gender, and timeframe  (because really, a few months disparity isn't much for an idea.).  After having all of that pointed out, Under, if I can be so informal, seems to believe that neither the FBI nor the sheriff of Mayberry would look at all of that and consider it a CLUE.  True, not all clues lead to anything substantive but that is why one follows a lead, a clue, so as to determine whether it means anything.  Dismissing clues out of hand is generally not considered to be good investigative or scientific policy.

Given the attitude about what is most assuredly a CLUE, I will have to take that attitude as a clue that either someone's morals, or intelligence is sadly lacking although, it could be that there is instead, an unstated motive. 

Warning: Information about trolls obtained Under Duress is admissible in the court of KnoxViews.

CAFKIA 

----------------------------------------------------------- 

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
  - William G. McAdoo

Number9's picture

As Aretha says,"Who is

As Aretha says,"Who is zooming who"?

In this thread I would ask who is trolling who? The original premise is a stretch. Going after Coulter is shooting ducks in a barrel. Why have to stretch it?

Anyone that has done this for very long knows what a troll is. For those that don't look here and here.

 

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