Kenneth Eade, Attorney, Author of legal thrillers
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Michael Solana, wired.com, August 24, 2014
Monday, October 26, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
H. Porter Abbott, The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, 2002
Thursday, October 22, 2020
John Cheever in Writers at Work, Fifth Series, edited by George Plimpton, 1981
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Jeffrey Toobin, a 60-year-old journalist with a bachelor and a law degree from Harvard University, began writing about crime, politics and law for New Yorker magazine in 1993. In 2003, he became the chief legal analyst for CNN. His seven books include one about the O.J. Simpson murder case, and one about the Patty Hearst kidnapping. He also wrote a book favorable to President Obama and one critical of President Trump. In addition to a book on the U.S, Supreme Court, Toobin wrote about the sexual accusations against Michael Jackson. On CNN, he was a regular commentator and panelist.
On October 13, 2020, Toobin and three of his colleagues were participating in a ten-minute Zoom call "strategy session" in anticipation of CNN's upcoming election night coverage. During that call, Toobin's colleagues were shocked to see him masturbating.
Shortly after the bizarre incident, Mr. Toobin was suspended by New Yorker magazine and placed on leave by CNN.
On October 19, 2020, in a statement published on his computer Motherboard, Toobin, in a bit of an understatement, wrote that he had made an "embarrassingly stupid mistake. I believe," he said, "that I was not visible on Zoom, I thought I had muted the Zoom video." Mr. Toobin apologized to his wife, his family and friends, and to his co-workers at New Yorker and CNN.
Brian Stelter, one of the talking heads at CNN, referred to Mr. Toobin's unintentional exposure of an intentional act as an "accident." In so doing, Mr. Stelter was also exposed--as a journalistic hack.
There was a time when someone of Mr. Toobin's status and fame would never be able to live something like this down. In modern America, however, with President Bill Clinton as a good example, politicians and media types can shrug off huge embarrassments and move on with their careers. Perhaps this is because the public now realizes that the hypocrites in public life are no better than they are, and in most cases, worse.
On November 11, 2020, New Yorker fired Mr. Toobin.
Leonard Woolf (1880-1969), husband of Virginia Woolf
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Besides literary biographies and autobiographies, as well as the published letters and journals of literary figures, I enjoy reading memoir/how-to books by celebrated writers. Examples of this genre include The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer, On Writing by Stephen King, On Writing by George V. Higgins, The Summing Up by W. Somerset Maugham, On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner, None But a Blockhead by Larry L. King, and Chandler Speaking by Raymond Chandler.
My library is also stocked with collections of author interviews such as the Writers at Work series featuring the Paris Review interviews conducted by George Plimpton and his colleagues. Interviewees in this eight-book series, which ran from 1958 to 1981, include Ernest Hemingway, Irwin Shaw, John O'Hara, John Cheever, and James Jones.
I also like to read so-called "conversation with" books, collections of interviews featuring a single writer such as Mary McCarthy, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Graham Green, Tom Wolfe, and Eudora Welty.
In 2019, I read Cast of Characters, a book by Thomas Vinciguerra about the golden years of The New Yorker and Another Life, a biography by Michael Korda about his years as a book editor and writer. In 2020 I enjoyed The Way of the Writer by Charles Johnson.
While I've corresponded over the years with a handful of well-known authors, I've only had one literary friend. That person was the mystery writer Ross H. Spencer who died in 1998. He was a literary outsider as well,
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
These controlling, narcissistic, remorseless, and sadistic child abusers can not be rehabilitated. While they have learned to impersonate decent human beings, except for indignation and rage, these heartless criminals are as emotionally cold as machines. They are relentless in their obsession with child sex, and no pill or shot can stop them.
Because many child rapists are intelligent, hardworking, successful, and superficially charming, we have to constantly remind ourselves of what is going on behind the pedophile's facade of respectability and decency. The fact that some of these perverts are excellent teachers, pediatricians, priests, or football coaches, is irrelevant. Moreover, our attention should not be diverted because a pedophile has friends in high places. Children most vulnerable to these sexual predators belong to parents who are either too naive, busy, stupid, or indifferent to keep an eye on adults who pay too much attention to their children. Pedophiles also take advantage of co-workers who either protect them, or are afraid to stick their necks out and report their suspicions. Pedophiles also benefit from prosecutors who shy away from cases like this.
Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State football coach convicted in 2011 of raping several boys, told a reporter with the Associated Press that he was "distraught" over the penalties the NCAA has issued to Penn State's football program. I have three questions about this: Why was a journalist even talking to this child molester? What relevance did Sandusky's opinion have to with anything? And who cared what he thought? If Jerry Sandusky were a real human being--one with empathy, self-awareness, and a conscience--he would not have made such an outrageous statement because he'd realize how most people would react to it. If the former football coach was "distraught" about anything, it should have been what he had done to all those children. Sandusky didn't care about the lives he had ruined.
Earl B. Bradley
In June 2011, a 58-year-old pediatrician from Lewes, Delaware named Earl B. Bradley was found guilty of raping, over a ten year period, 85 girls and one boy. All of his victims were between two and five-years old. Not only did the physician molest these toddlers, he video-taped himself doing it. When investigators, in December 2009, searched his pediatrics office, the officers found dozens of these tapes.
At his trial, presented before a judge instead of a jury, Bradley's attorneys did not argue that he was innocent. Instead, they raised a procedural defense questioning the constitutionality of the police search of his office. The judge ruled the search constitutional, found the defendant guilty, and sentenced him to 14 life sentences plus 164 years.
In August 2012, after spending a year in the prison library, Bradley sent a 15-page letter to the Delaware Supreme Court in which he asked the justices to take up the issue of the constitutionality of the office search that uncovered his child molestation sex tapes. In his appeal, Bradley did not deny raping 86 of his patients.
A normal person, under these circumstances, wouldn't be capable of mustering up outrage over a supposedly unconstitutional search. This doctor, a pedophile who raped his patients, then billed their parents, referred to the police search of his office as an "assault" on his "basic and core privacy rights."
Every breath Earl B. Bradley takes in his cell at the state prison near Smyrna, Delaware is an affront to humanity.
Monday, October 12, 2020
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Anne Tyler in The Best American Short Stories, edited by Anne Tyler, 1983
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Monday, October 5, 2020
In striving for this utopia we don't notice all the vital benefits that we lose. The freedom of people to make accountability judgments is vital to just about everything important and joyful in work life…
To see ourselves as we really are, we need the mirror of other people's views. Scientists tell us that most people are incapable of accurately judging themselves, because humans are hard-wired by nature to be self-centered. Our founders believed this as well--that a human being was an atom of self-interest. By protecting against the judgment of others, modern personnel law [employer-employee relations] fosters these worst tendencies in humans, starting a downward spiral…
One federal judge told me about presiding over a discrimination trial in which the facts of the worker's incompetence were overwhelming. As the trial progressed, it was clear to everyone in the courtroom that the worker had no claim. When the verdict came in dismissing his claim, however, the employee still couldn't see it. He sat in the courtroom in disbelief, crying in frustration at the injustice that had been done to him. Inside a legal cocoon, people let their imaginations replace reality.
Philip K. Howard, Life Without Lawyers, 2009
Rachel Monroe, Savage Appetites: Four True Stories of Women, Crime, and Obsession
Saturday, October 3, 2020
One of Ross' mentally deranged clients, 53-year-old Lucious Smith, lived in a one-story, cement-block apartment complex in Dade City, a town thirty miles north of Tampa. Smith, an anti-social person who was seriously mentally disturbed, paranoid, and violent, embodied the kind of man nobody wants as a neighbor, co-worker, relative, customer, or mental health patient. Residents of the neighborhood perceived Smith as more than just a bellicose pain-in-the-neck, they considered him physically dangerous. Because association with this man brought trouble, he was a person to avoid.
Since 1981, Lucious Smith had served four separate stints in Florida's prison system for committing various crimes of violence. In 2005, after doing seven years for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, Smith moved into the small apartment in Dade City. (Since he didn't have a job, he must have been on the public dole). Over the next six years, police were called to investigate 60 criminal complaints against Smith that included assault, trespassing, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct. Smith constantly fought and threatened his neighbors, and as a result of his bad behavior, had been banned from the local convenience store.
As part of her job, Stephanie Ross had to visit Lucious Smith in his apartment. After three house visitations, Ross placed a notation in Smith's file that this man had made her "very uncomfortable."
On the morning of December 10, 2012, Stephanie Ross was in Dade City delivering insurance paperwork to Mr. Smith. Shortly after entering Smith's apartment, neighbors and other witnesses saw Lucious Smith chasing a young woman down the street. Stephanie Ross was yelling, "Help me! Help me!" As she ran, Smith stabbed her in the back with a butcher's knife. Smith grabbed the fleeing victim by her pony-tail and threw her to the ground. He climbed on top of his bleeding victim and plunged the knife several more times into her body.
As people ran to Stephanie Ross' aid, Smith got up and casually strolled back to his apartment. A motorist pulled up to the bloody scene and drove Ross to a nearby hospital where she died a few hours later.
Not long after the fatal knife attack, police officers found Smith waiting for them outside his apartment. They arrested him without incident and took him to the Pasco County Jail where he was held without bond. A local prosecutor charged Smith with first-degree murder. Shortly thereafter, a grand jury indicted him on that charge.
In February 2013, two psychologists hired by Smith's defense attorney testified at a preliminary hearing that Mr. Smith was still mentally ill and therefore not competent to stand trial. A psychiatrist hired by the state disagreed. As a result, the judge ruled the defendant mentally competent. However, in May 2013, after further examinations of Mr. Smith, the state mental health expert changed his evaluation. This led the judge to change his mind and rule the defendant incompetent for trial. Judge Pat Siracusa ordered that Mr. Smith be treated at a state mental hospital until doctors there determined he was competent to stand trial.
On June 11, 2013, the U. S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Integra Health Management with two workplace safety violations. According the the agency's news release, "A serious violation has been cited for exposing employees to incidents of violent behavior that resulted in death." The second violation involved the company's failure to report the workplace fatality.
In February 2014, Stephanie Ross' family filed a wrongful death negligence suit against her former employer, Integra Health Management and several other firms including the owner of Smith's apartment complex and his insurer. According to the plaintiffs, Ross' Integra Health Management supervisor, aware of her documented concerns about Mr. Smith, "took no action whatsoever." The plaintiffs' attorney, Bradley Stewart, argued that the employer violated its duty to protect Ross from violence.
Who knows how many ticking time-bombs like Lucious Smith live among us. Social workers like Stephanie Ross whose work puts them in touch with people like Smith are more vulnerable than the police who are armed and wear bullet-proof vests. Violent, out of control mental cases should not be living in open society and social workers and others who try to help them do so at great risk to themselves.
As of October 2020, Lucious Smith had not been tried for Stephanie Ross' murder. If the Ross lawsuits had been resolved with either verdicts or settlements, there is no record of these outcomes on the Internet.