Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Widgetville, Equilibrium, USA


The town of Widgetville, in the state of Equilibrium makes widgets. The owner of the factory, Jones, lived in WV with his family. All the workers in the widget factory know Jones; their children went to school together. Jones pays his workers a good salary. They have enough money to buy a widget now and then, pay taxes, buy a home, a car, clothing, food, and send their children to college.  There is even sometimes a little left over for their savings account. Not everyone works in the widget factory.  The butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker sell things to and provide services for the widget factory workers. The workers taxes pay for the policemen, firemen teachers and road improvements.

Now and then, Jones and his workers come up with a new way of making widgets that is faster and improves their quality. Now and then, Jones finds a machine that improves the process and product some more.  The result is that Jones makes more money but he shares with the consumer and workers by charging a little less for the widgets and paying the workers more and/or gives them more time off.  The result is that Jones sells more widgets in town and some to workers making gadgets in the nearby town of Gadgetville. Everyone is happy.

Unfortunately Jones dies and his widget factory is purchased by the Superwidget Corporation. The owners of the factory are called shareholders and they live elsewhere and the managers of the factory are called CEO’s. The owners of Jones factory don’t care about Widgetville or its citizens. They really don’t care if the factory makes a profit. They make their money by selling their ownership to people who may live even further away and care even less about the town of Widgetville or even the state of Equilibrium. The CEO is concerned primarily about two things: his salary and bonus he gives himself for making a profit on the widgets the people in Widgetville make.

He improves his profit by paying the workers less and making them work longer hours.  His shareholders are happy because the value of their shares are going up and the board of directors are happy because they share in the profits with the CEO they hired.

The only problem is, the workers can no longer afford to buy a widget so sales fall off. The workers pay less taxes because they earn less so the town council, which primarily reports to the CEO of Jones’ factory, fires policemen, teachers and firemen. The butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker are also affected. In spite of what measures he takes, sales drop off and the widget factory is losing money.  The board of directors approves a bonus for the CEO and, knowing that the factory is going to declare bankruptcy sell their shares while the price is high. The bulk of the shareholders, the ones who don’t live in Widgetville or even in the state of Equilibrium, lose their money.

The CEO sells to an international widget corporation and they move the operation overseas to the Republic of New Equilibrium where the workers don’t have such high expectations as the workers in Jones’ widget factory.

So what happens to the citizens of Widgetville? We shall see.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The 1947 miscarriage of justice:

Available for sale at my paypal account - gomw12@gmail.com for $12 

On March 15, 1947, at 11:45 PM, the weather was probably between 50 and 60 degrees on a typically starry night. Walter E. Overell, 62 and his wife Beulah, 57 were aboard their 47 foot Yacht, the Mary E, which was moored in the harbor, when an explosion aboard shattered the still of the night while many of the residents were either in bed asleep or about to go to bed and sent the yacht to the bottom of the shallow harbor.

The Explosion was heard by Newport Beach police officers Lawrence Goddard and George W. Calihan who were on patrol in the area. They saw the boat sinking and called the fire department. The two officers saw Bud and Louise running hand in hand near Bay Avenue and A Street. The boat was boarded at 11:52 P.M. by Robert Myers of the Newport Beach Fire Department and he found the bodies of Walter and Beulah Overell.  Members of the Coast Guard arrived shortly and took the bodies to the Baltz Mortuary.  At this point, murder was not suspected.

A preliminary autopsy found the Overells were killed by injuries to their heads which could not have been caused by the explosion.  The Overell’s daughter Louise and her boyfriend,  George (Bud) Rector Gollum, were the last to have been aboard with them. Unexploded dynamite was found aboard and evidence was found that Gollum, along with Louise, had purchased the dynamite the day before the explosion. 

They were arrested and charged four days after the murder.  Evidence was overwhelming. 

The motive: The Overells opposed the wedding and told Gollum and Louise that Louise would be disinherited if they wed without their approval.  The Overells were wealthy socialites who lived in a mansion in Flintridge.  Beulah Overell, Louise’s mother and Wilhelmina Rector Stomel, Bud Gollum’s mother, had been friends while attending church together before either were married.  The Rectors, Bud’s grandparents and Beulah Overell’s family, the Jungquists were longtime friends.  Both families were wealthy.

Bud and Louise knew each other since both were children and got together when he was in the navy.  Both parents urged Louise to write to him.  Louise was an unwanted and unloved child ignored by her parents while growing up.  Bud was a social misfit and both parents though that they might provide some socialization for the two of them.  Bud saw Louise as his ticket to a life of the idle rich and when he was discharged, they became engaged and sexually involved.

Bud had always been around wealthy people, on the perimeter looking inside, and thought he had a right to the kind of life his grandparents and their friends had.  Louise had no love for her parents and Bud gave her the first attention and love, or what she thought was love, that she ever had.  When the parents threatened to take that away from her, Bud had little problem in convincing her to remove her parents from being the obstacle to the life that she deserved.

When they were arrested, it appeared like an easy win for the prosecution despite some infighting between the Orange County DA and the Newport Beach chief of police.  It was a high profile case and the state Attorney General appointed a special prosecutor to try the case.  There seemed little doubt that there would be a conviction.  Bud and Louise sat in jail for nearly four month awaiting trial.  During that time they exchanged some torrid letters/notes which were poorly written pornography.  The police were copying the letters and typing them out for use in the trial.  The Los Angeles Examiner was given the letters allegedly by the state AG and printed redacted versions in the paper.

In spite of the overwhelming evidence,  the defense attorneys attacked every witness, every piece of evidence and gained an acquittal.  It was a miscarriage of justice of the proportion of the OJ Trial and the recent Casey Anthony trial. During the trial and the exchange of letters, a breach in their relationship arose and they never saw each other again after the trial.  The inheritance was much less that they expected but still a good sum of money for those days.

Louise ended up dying of alcoholism while contemplating suicide while in her second marriage.  Her son, by a previous marriage to a Los Angeles policeman, inherited $27,000.  Her second husband had spent the rest. Bud ended up dying alone in Wasilla, Alaska after having done prison time for stolen auto and growing marijuana.

The book traces their post-trial life and their relationship leading up to the murder. It follows their relationship in jail and critiques the investigation, the trial and the verdict from an ex-cops vantage point.  I obtained access to the trial transcripts, a complete set of investigation reports and considerable knowledge of the families from Ancestry.com.  Some of the trial transcripts and investigation reports are included in the story. 

Available for sale at pay pal at gomw12@gmail.com for $12


Friday, December 16, 2011