“The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others Erik Erikson
“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.”Mark Rothko
LLR BOOKS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM
LLR BOOKS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM
“Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.”
“We are all prisoners but some of us are in cells with windows and some without.” Kahlil Gibran
WHY THE WORLD NEEDS EDITORS.....................
Excerpt from my book "No Time to Say Goodbye: Memoirs of a Life in Foster Care.
In 1962, six year old John Tuohy, his two brothers and two sisters entered Connecticut’s foster care system and were promptly split apart. Over the next ten years, John would live in more than ten foster homes, group homes and state schools, from his native Waterbury to Ansonia, New Haven, West Haven, Deep River and Hartford. In the end, a decade later, the state returned him to the same home and the same parents they had taken him from. As tragic as is funny compelling story will make you cry and laugh as you journey with this child to overcome the obstacles of the foster care system and find his dreams.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John William Tuohy is a writer who lives in Washington DC. He holds an MFA in writing from Lindenwood University. He is the author of numerous non-fiction on the history of organized crime including the ground break biography of bootlegger Roger Tuohy "When Capone's Mob Murdered Touhy" and "Guns and Glamour: A History of Organized Crime in Chicago."
His non-fiction crime short stories have appeared in The New Criminologist, American Mafia and other publications. John won the City of Chicago's Celtic Playfest for his work The Hannigan's of Beverly, and his short story fiction work, Karma Finds Franny Glass, appeared in AdmitTwo Magazine in October of 2008.
His play, Cyberdate.Com, was chosen for a public performance at the Actors Chapel in Manhattan in February of 2007 as part of the groups Reading Series for New York project. In June of 2008, the play won the Virginia Theater of The First Amendment Award for best new play.
Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
Visit our Shakespeare Blog at the address below
GOOD WORDS TO HAVE………………..
Athwart (uh-THWART) adverb, preposition: From side to side of; across; against. From French a- (on, into, toward) + thwart, from Old Norse thvert, neuter of thverr (transverse). Earliest documented use: 1470.
Exculpatory \ek-SKUL-puh-tor-ee\ tending or serving to clear from alleged fault or guilt. Exculpatory is the adjectival form of the verb exculpate, meaning "to clear from guilt." The pair of words cannot be accused of being secretive—their joint etymology reveals all: they are tied to the Latin verb exculpatus, a word that combines the prefix ex-, meaning "out of" or "away from," with the Latin noun culpa, meaning "blame." The related but lesser-known terms inculpate and inculpatory are antonyms of exculpate and exculpatory. Inculpate means "to incriminate" and inculpatory means "incriminating." A related noun, culpable, means "meriting condemnation or blame for doing something wrong."
Wherewith: adverb: With which. pronoun: The thing(s) with which.conjunction: By means of which. From where + with. Earliest documented use: 1200.
HERE'S PLEASANT POEM FOR YOU TO ENJOY................
God, best at making in the morning, tossed
stars and planets, singing and dancing, rolled
Saturn’s rings spinning and humming, twirled the earth
so hard it coughed and spat the moon up, brilliant
bubble floating around it for good, stretched holy
hands till birds in nervous sparks flew forth from
them and beasts---lizards, big and little, apes,
lions, elephants, dogs and cats cavorting,
tumbling over themselves, dizzy with joy when
God made us in the morning too, both man
and woman, leaving Adam no time for
sleep so nimbly was Eve bouncing out of
his side till as night came everything and
everybody, growing tired, declined, sat
down in one long descended Hallelujah
Vassar Miller (July 19, 1924 – October 31, 1998) was a writer and poet.
Miller was born in Houston, Texas, the daughter of real estate investor Jesse G. Miller. She began writing as a child, composing on a typewriter due to the cerebral palsy which affected her speech and movement. She attended the University of Houston, receiving her B.A. and M.A. in English.
In 1956, Miller published her first volume of poetry, Adam's Footprint. Her poems, most of which dealt with either her strong religious faith or her experiences as a person with a disability, were widely praised for their rigorous formality, clarity, and emotional impact.
In 1961 Miller was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her collection Wage War on Silence. Her poems have been published in hundreds of periodicals and more than 50 anthologies, including Spanish translations in Latin American journals.
The lasting power of Ms. Miller’s poetry and its distinctiveness was aptly described by many, including author Larry McMurtry. Reflecting on the qualities that make the work of only a few artists survive, Mr. McMurtry wrote of Vassar Miller and her poetry: “It’s easy to point out her clarity, her precision, her intelligence, her honesty. But I want to mention one other quality that I think she has both as a person and as a poet, and that is her tenacity. It’s not simply brute survival that a poet is involved with, although sometimes they are; it’s more than that. It’s a tenacity that has to be at one and the same time, physical, intellectual, and moral. I believe this tenacity is something that Vassar Miller is richly endowed with.”
Excerpt from my book "When Capone’s Mob Murdered Touhy.”
Banghart, Basil: He was an underworld legend, a man's man, whose prison escapes made him a celebrity in every major prison from Atlanta to Soladad. He could drive a train, fly a plane, shoot a machine gun from a speeding car with deadly accuracy and pull off mail heists that produced a million dollars.
Basil Hugh Banghart was born in Berville Michigan in 1900 and finished one year of college before he became a professional car thief, stealing over 100 cars in the Detroit area, still dubious but unbroken, before he was arrested in 1926 at age twenty-six.
Prison sociologists rated him as "a professional criminal, recidivist with unfavorable prognosis. A sophisticated criminal who is astute, well poised, alert, but without social conscience or scruples. His I.Q 107."
Banghart, dubbed "The Owl" because of his abnormally large eyes, had been associated with Gerald Chapman and George Dutch Anderson having met the both of them while he was doing time in Atlanta Federal pen.
Chapman liked Banghart and took him under his wing and tutored him in the fine arts of mail robbery and prison escapes.
Chapman had taught The Owl well. Assigned to a window washing detail, Banghart made his first, but unsuccessful, escape from Atlanta, by leaping 25 feet from a window he was washing into a marsh area on the other side of the prison's wall. He made his way to Montana, but was captured and sent back to Atlanta.
His second escape was with George Chapman in 1927 but he was arrested in Pittsburgh a year later, in October of 1928, while trying to steal a car.
Escorted by US Marshals back to prison, Banghart was taken to the federal building. Left alone in an office for several minutes, Banghart escaped by calling police and telling them he was an FBI agent who had been assaulted and overpowered by his prisoner, Basil Banghart, who had escaped after handcuffing him.
The Owl gave the cops a description of the Marshal who was escorting him and said, "He's a dangerous, armed felon and a police imposter."
Police, pistols drawn, flooded into the building and overpowered the FBI agent as he and Banghart walked through the building's lobby. The Owl disappeared in the confusion.
He was arrested in Knoxville in February of 1930. Returned to Atlanta, he escaped again but was arrested in January 1932 in Detroit for armed robbery.
Held in the South Bend Indiana jail, he escaped by throwing pepper in the guard's face, grabbing his machine gun and shooting his way to freedom.
Banghart made his way to Chicago and went to work for Roger Touhy. While Banghart probably played a major role in the Touhy-Nitti union wars of 1932-33, there is only one incident on record where police suspected he was involved.
In January of 1933, the Nitti organization trapped and killed one of Touhy's gunmen, a union extortionist named Jimmy O'Brien.
Seven days later February 8, 1933, the Touhy's struck back.
It was 15 degrees below zero and snowing. There was two feet of snow already on the ground. A dark colored sedan pulled up in front of the Garage Nightclub where Jimmy O'Brien had been killed.
A tall man, identified as Banghart, and wearing a dark hat and overcoat, probably Basil Banghart, opened the front door to the club and said: "This is for Jimmy, you bastards!" and tossed a bomb into the bar room which blew the place to bits but remarkably didn't kill any of the occupants.
In August of 1933, Banghart's occasional partner, Issac Costner, a Tennessee moonshiner working for the Touhy's as an enforcer, convinced Banghart to meet with an international con man named John Factor, AKA, Jake the Barber.
Costner told Banghart that the Barber was wanted in England on a bonco conviction and needed to avoid extradition by kidnapping himself. Factor had promised Costner $50,000 if he would help make the kidnapping look real by picking up the ransom money.
Remarkably, Banghart agreed.
On August 17, 1933, Banghart drove to the forest preserves outside of Chicago where the ransom money was to be dropped.
It was supposed to be an easy deal, a man in a cab would meet Banghart at the intersection of Wolf and Ogden roads and hand him a bag filled with 50k, in small unmarked bills.
But, unknown to the Owl, two hundred and fifty policemen, cadets, Sheriff's deputies and FBI agents, two airplanes, sixty-two squad cars, ten machine guns and a dozen aerial bombs were waiting for him.
Banghart and his partner, Ice Wagon Connor, were late picking up the money. They sped onto the roadway where the cab was waiting and pulled up to the cab's fender, screeching to a halt just barely avoiding an accident.
Connors, in a gray summer suit, was on the passenger's side. He stepped out and walked over to the cab and looked at Officer McKenna in the back seat. "You got a package, a package for Smith?" he asked.
The plainclothes policeman inside the cab nodded. "Yes. It's here."
The cop handed Connors a package that contained nothing more than scraps of paper and then waved for the others to move in.
Banghart and Connors saw the set up. Banghart floored the car while Connors threw himself into the back seat.
Banghart raced the car down the road only to find it blocked by a dozen squad cars. Throwing the car in reverse, he raced down to the other end of the road and into another road block.
The Owl threw the car in reverse again and dodged back and forth between the roadblocks, looking for an opening.
At one point, McKenna and Meyers, the two cops in the taxi, drove up behind Banghart's car and fired the machine gun at the gangster, missing every shot. In frustration Meyers pulled the cab up alongside Banghart's car to give McKenna a better shot. McKenna let a burst go from the Tommy gun, but missed again.
Banghart drove the car straight at the roadblock in front of him and the cops, not really sure if he would stop or not, moved out of his way and Banghart drove straight into the forest preserve to get out of the view of the airplanes above him.
With the police only yards behind them, Banghart and Connor leaped out of the car and let it smash into a tree and ran away on foot and split up and escaped.
With the Factor business behind him, or so he thought, in the winter of 1935, Banghart joined Roger Touhy and his gang in planning and executing what was then the largest string of mail robberies in history.
Banghart's contribution was to steal $105,000 in federal reserve notes from a truck in Charlotte North Carolina in broad daylight.
Unfortunately for Banghart, he used a stolen car for the heist, which brought the FBI into the case. The car was found outside of a Baltimore hotel a month after the robbery, and the FBI arrested Banghart shortly afterwards as he left the hotel.
Banghart was returned to Chicago, where, to his surprise, he was indicted, along with Roger Touhy and four others, for kidnapping Jake the Barber Factor. The Owl had been set up.
When Banghart was called to the stand during the Factor kidnap trial, the prosecuting attorney, Wilbert Crowley asked: "What is your occupation, Mr. Banghart?"
The jury laughed but Crowley was confused. "What?"
"I'm a thief. I steal...that's how I make my living."
"What was the last place of your residence?"
"601 McDonough Boulevard SE, Atlanta Georgia, but it wasn't permanent."
Later in the day Crowley found out that 601 McDonough was the address for Atlanta Federal prison and called Banghart back to the witness stand to explain himself.
"Why didn't you tell us," Crowley demanded, "that you were in prison?"
"Four walls and iron bars," Banghart replied, "do not a prison make."
Flustered, Crowley said, "So you escaped from prison, isn't that correct?"
Banghart was indignant. "No. The warden says I escaped from prison."
"And," Crowley asked, "What do you say?"
"I say," replied Banghart, "that I left without permission."
"The point is, Mr. Banghart, is that you are a fugitive, are you not?"
"Yes I am. I am a fugitive."
"From where, sir?"
"Well hell son, from justice."
The jury had a good laugh at the Owl's testimony but they found him guilty anyway. He was sentenced to 99 years for his role in the Factor kidnapping, plus 31 years for his part in the mail robberies.
In 1935, Banghart started off his new career at Menard State prison by driving a laundry truck through the main gates.
The escape was short lived, he was recaptured and sent to the main prison with Roger Touhy at Statesville.
In October of 1942, Banghart escaped prison again, this time with Roger Touhy and four others, going over Stateville's enormous 45-foot walls in a daring daylight breakout.
They were recaptured several months later after one of the escapees, Matlick Nelson, who had been severely beaten by Banghart for drinking, turned himself into the FBI and told the agents everything he knew about the escape.
By nightfall, a small army of agents was slowly and carefully moving in around the gang's apartments.
J. Edgar Hoover arrived on the scene to personally supervise the raid.
At zero hour, powerful searchlights were turned onto the windows of Touhy's apartment and then a loudspeaker cracked the silence of the night. "Roger Touhy and the other escaped convicts! The building is surrounded. We are about to throw tear gas in the building. Surrender now and you will not be killed."
Banghart wanted to shoot it out, but Roger didn't. They debated over what to do for the next ten minutes before Banghart shouted out the window, "We're coming out."
"Then come out backwards with your hands high in the air! Banghart you come out first!"
Banghart, wearing only his pants, appeared at the front door, his back to the agents. Roger, clad in fire-engine-red pajamas, followed him.
The agents leaped on each of them as they came out of the building and knocked them to the freezing cold pavement and handcuffed them.
A dozen agents rushed into the apartment and found five pistols, three sawn off shotguns, a .30/30 rifle and $13,523 in cash which they handed over to Tubbo Gilbert, who was still the Chief Investigator for the States Attorney's Office.
When Gilbert returned the cash to the prisoners at Stateville prison, he said that he had only been given $800 by the FBI.
After Touhy and Banghart were handcuffed, J. Edgar Hoover, surrounded by a dozen agents and a dozen more newspaper reports, strolled up to Banghart and said "Well, Banghart, you're a trapped rat."
The Owl burst out into a huge smile, "You're J. Edgar Hoover, aren't you?" he asked.
"Yes," Hoover beamed, "I am."
Banghart nodded his head and said, "You're a lot fatter in person than you are on the radio."
On January 2, 1943, The Owl was returned, by a massive and heavily armed convoy, to spend his 36th birthday in solitary confinement in Statesville.
But State authorities had enough of Banghart and his death defying escapes. He was becoming a convict's legend. He had to be made an example of.
Several days after his return, the Owl was dragged from his cell by eighteen federal marshals, chained at his wrists and ankles and sent by airplane to Alcatraz prison island.
It was a stroke of bad luck for Banghart, for one thing, although he could fly a plane and drive cars better and faster than most mere mortals, Banghart had never learned to swim.
The Owl was assigned to the prison kitchen where he and Alvin Karpis were assigned to the bakery although Banghart was later promoted to kitchen clerk, the same position Roger Touhy would hold at Statesville prison.
"The Karpis Kitchen Crew", as it became known, was the stuff of convict legends. Banghart and Karpis learned to make wine out of cherry pie juices, spending all of their off time making and testing different types of wine and getting drunk. "The challenge was," Karpis wrote, "to avoid becoming an alcoholic."
In 1959, after it had been proven that John Factor had arranged his own kidnapping, the Owl was transferred from Alcatraz back to Statesville prison.
Eventually his conviction for kidnapping was overturned and his 30-year sentence for mail robbery was dropped for time served. In 1960, the Owl, now a graying man of sixty years, strolled out of prison for ever.
There is, more or less, a happy ending to Banghart's story. When he left prison, his girlfriend of thirty years, Mae Blacock, was waiting for him as was a small but very respectable real estate fortune left to him by an aunt in 1945.
The Owl lived out the remainder of his life in relative comfort on a small island in Puget Sound, watching the ships go by.
Excerpt from my book “On the Waterfront: The Making of a Great American Film”
By June of 1953, everything was in place including the site location to film the picture, Hoboken New Jersey. Kazan’s request (later a demand) for location shooting did not sit right with Columbia’s boss Harry Cohn. Cohn thought it better to make the film on his back lot in California where weather, pedestrian traffic and local talent would not slow down production. Kazan held out on his demand, like Huston, Mankiewicz and Zinnemann, believed the atmosphere in Southern California was detrimental to the films theme. In addition, Schulberg and Kazan were determined to make “An east coast movie.” That is, a film that would be developed and shot entirely on the east coast as opposed to the back lots of Los Angeles, which is how most films of the 1950s were developed with transparencies (imposing a film shot of an actual location as a background for the actors) Waterfront, Kazan decided, would use the actual locations.
Reluctantly Cohn agreed to location shooting but with two demands of his own; the film’s title would be changed from the original "Waterfront,” to “On the Waterfront” because Columbia’s lawyers had learned that there was already a television series by that name. In addition, Cohn wanted the entire shoot completed in 30 days. Sam Spiegel, whose money was on the line, was completely behind the time rush demands. With his pushing and prodding the film, shooting was completed in 37 days. During shooting in Hoboken, he would phone Kazan and Schulberg each night at midnight or even two or three on the morning, with the same message ‘Go faster, speed up production, get it done, wrap it, we’re losing money’ 34
Hoboken was a secondary choice as the location shoot. Kazan and Schulberg had done all of their research in New York’s West Side, in the areas of Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea but they passed on the New York locations due to the high expense, the traffic and the Mafia, which was clearly upset with the concept of the film. They looked across the river and saw Hoboken.
They drove over the bridge to New Jersey and talked with the local Chief of Police, Arthur Moretta. They told him about their problems or least their perceived problems with the mob. Moretta, delighted at the idea of his city in a major motion picture, promised them a safe filming in Hoboken and appointed his brother to protect the cast and crew.
There was probably never any real danger from the Mafia to the cast and crew on the location, but there was a sense on the set that they were doing something daring not the least of which was denying the mob that still ruled over the waterfront. There was only one minor incident during the filming. When the crew broke for lunch, some thugs, local teenagers who were upset at the way their town was being portrayed, grabbed Kazan and started to rough him up, the police managed to pull them off. Overall, that was one of the few negatives from the locals, aside from adding $30,000 to the budget to cover payoffs to Hoboken property owners who charging exorbitant rents and fees to the film crew.
The production was one of the great events in the city's history. In its long history, the tenement city of Hoboken, dwarfed by its prestigious neighbor, Manhattan, had but a few claims to fame. It was the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, G. Gordon Liddy, five-foot actor Pia Zadora and troubled but extremely talented, singer Jimmy Roselli. (Considered by many to be the inspiration for the character of Johnny Fontane in the Godfather films) Hoboken was where Steven Foster, in sober moment, penned a few of his classic American songs and Willem de Kooning began his career as an artist (Of sorts, he was a house painter) The first game of organized baseball was played here, the ice cream cone was invented there and so was the Locomotive engine.
By the mid-1930's and despite the films depiction of the city as an Irish enclave, Hoboken's largest ethnic group was Italian. The city itself was a rough, grimy seaport town, dangerous in some places, a closed community that did not welcome outsiders and the Waterfront film crew was no exception. “It was” said a former resident “Ten minutes from Manhattan, filled with people who never went there” another added “We were right across the river from Manhattan but we might as well have been in Detroit, it was that different”
Only one square mile in size, Hoboken became a living part of the film and no amount of careful art direction could have resulted in the set Hoboken gave Kazan with its view of Manhattan, its seedy smoke filled crowded bars, the dank cramped apartments where the dockworkers lived and the inner cargo holds.
While Hoboken gave Kazan the setting he needed, drab and worn, his primary concern was to make an exciting, successful commercial feature film, the fact that it showed the deplorable working conditions for the long shore workers and allowed mainstream America and eventually the world to better understand cultural and class differences is an admirable by product of the production. While the film succeeds somewhat in its depiction of the dockworker’s life, it is entertainment, a love story. What Kazan needed to do, and what he did do, and brilliantly, was to create spontaneity and the illusion of reality. (which is why the outdoor shooting in Hoboken in the freezing cold that showed the actors breath on film pleased him so.)
Although he had been required to hire locals for the films extra, he probably would have done it anyway since they had “The look” he needed. Another reason he had to hire so many locals (In total 500 extras were paid to either be in the film or on standby) the winter of 1952 happened to be one of New York’s coldest in years and professional New York actors weren’t interested in a trip out of the city to work in the freezing winds of Hoboken.
The weather was wet, bitter cold, overcast and gray and in several scenes, the metal barrels that the crew used to warm themselves can be seen in several shots throughout the final edit of the film. Breath is visible on screen, a detail Kazan loved and spoke of often because it suggested the brutal lives of the Dockworkers against both corrupt union officials and the elements. With so many natural elements, the actors were free to focus entirely on their characters’ emotions. Making conditions worse was the fact that most of the film was shot at night which few people who watch the film ever notice, a tribute to cinematographer Boris Kaufman’s brilliance behind the camera.
For their part, the actors were not as enthusiastic as Kazan was about the freezing weather and rarely left the warmth of their rooms at the wildly misnamed Majestic Grand Hotel. The films California based actors (Although Eva Marie Saint was born and raised in New Jersey) used every excuse they could think of to delay the early (5:30 AM) shooting schedule. Brando was the most difficult to get out into the frigid morning air. Schulberg recalled, “The temperature was near zero and the wind chill blowing up the frozen river was often 10 below. Teeth were chattering and the cold crept into our bones. On the roof one day, Marlon made a classical remark. ``Ya know, it’s so fucking cold out here there’s no way you can over act.”
“In that case” cracked the ever Spiegel “you’re in your element” However, the wind and the cold had a positive effect on the picture "it made them look like people” Kazan wrote “and not actors, in fact, like people who lived in Hoboken and suffered the cold because they had no choice.” 35
Of course, the weather, as a part of the film, could be a double-edged sword. Hoboken offers one of the best skyline views of New York in the entire tri-state area and Kazan wanted to shot it from Hoboken's view... distant, cold and foggy... the opposite of the picture postcard image of the Big Apple that most American knew. On the first day of shooting, Kazan ordered his crew, tossed together on a moment’s notice, up to a rooftop to shoot the New York City skyline as a backdrop opening to the film. However, on the very moment that they were about to begin filming, a fog rolled in from the ocean and covered their angle. Kazan had taken the precaution of setting up crews on other rooftops, from different angles, only to find out that the crews were down on the street.
"What the hell are they doing down there?" he screamed at his assistant director. Spiegel, the answer came, had refused to rent the two roofs from the owners because they had asked for too much money. "He chiseled on every cost and took it out of our hides and legs and patience... Where Sam chiseled was on crew costs and every insignificant thing he could come up with or cut down" 36
In between, during and after set shots, Kazan was flooded with calls from Sam Spiegel, demanding that he rush through the film and cut costs. Kazan was positive that the majority of the calls were to impress “Whatever teenager was on his arm this week” (Spiegel was a firm believer in the casting couch)
Spiegel was an endless problem for everyone. Brando suspected that the driver Spiegel had provided for him was a spy. It turned out he was right. Nor was Brando’s driver the only spy on the set. Schulberg and Kazan were plagued with calls from Spiegel complaining about a miner expense they had made only minutes after they had made. He also insisted on cutting line after line and scene after scene in an effort to hurry production along. While some of the cuts were drastic, others, Kazan and Schulberg agreed, were good and needed. The problem was, when they would consent to one small cut, Spiegel would see his opening and push for several more. One of the cuts he demanded was the core of the film, the sermon in the cargo hold by Father Barry. “You can’t give a sermon” he shouted “in the movies! It just doesn’t play in the movies and it has to be cut!” 37
Schulberg fought him on the cuts making the legitimate argument that the scene could not be cut because so much of the films underlying theme is spiritual.
The ritual of Spiegel’s attempted cuts was reenacted each morning when Schulberg, Kazan and Spiegel would meet in Kazan’s hotel room to go over the script changes. Each morning, Spiegel would start the meeting by asking to see the cuts and revisions in the script only to be told there were not any. At this point, Spiegel would looked shocked and hurt and ask why his director and screen writer had reneged on their promise to him to cut a scene or a line only to have the pair remind him that they had never agreed to cut anything. He was, said Kazan “A great actor and a masterful liar” 38
As to Spiegel’s argument that some of the films dialogue would run to long on screen, Kazan would counter with the argument that Spiegel was reading the lines from a page, on screen, the camera would cut to different actors as lines were spoken to draw their reaction.
Eventually Spiegel managed to run down the generally easy going and good-natured Schulberg as well with his constant demands for rewrites on the script. On the first weekend of the project, Schulberg decided to fly up to Dartmouth College to plan a memorial for a teacher he had known. A panicked Spiegel called “Budd, where are you going?”
Schulberg explained to which Spiegel countered “For how
“How are you getting there?”
“By small airplane” Schulberg told him
“But” Spiegel asked “What about the script?”
“Don’t worry” Schulberg said, “I have the script with me”
“But what of the plane crashes?”
One night Schulberg's wife awoke at three in the morning to find her husband shaving.
"What are you shaving for?" she asked
"I'm driving to New York,” he answered
"To kill Sam Spiegel" 39
HERE IS AN EXCEPT FROM MY BOOK "THE BOOK OF AMERICAN-JEWISH GANGSTERS"
(Max Zellner is a pen name, it was my grandfather's born name. During World War 1 he changed it to the less German sounding Paul Selner)
Schultz Dutch Gangster. Born Arthur Simon Flegenheimer AKA Beer Baron of the Bronx, AKA Charles Harmon, AKA Dutchman. Born Aug. 6, 1902. Died October 23 1935. Schultz's father, a German immigrant, abandoned the family when Schultz was 14 year old, but the Dutchman, a nick named he enjoyed, would also deny that his father had left the family. Instead, he told people that his father had died young of natural causes.
Schultz grew up in poverty. His mother, Emma, also a German immigrant and a devout Jew, worked as a building handyman at an apartment building at Bergen and Webster Avenues, for free rent but no pay forcing Schultz to leave grammar school and find work as a go-fer for a neighborhood gangster. He soon graduated to stick up robberies of poker games and then burglary. Arrested for breaking and entering, Schultz was sent to Blackwell's Island (now known as Roosevelt Island) reformatory and then transferred to a work farm in upstate New York because of his belligerent behavior. He escaped from the farm, was recaptured and sentenced to an additional two months before he was released back to the streets of Manhattan.
In 1928, Schultz and his lifelong friend Joey Noe opened a speakeasy and eventually branched out to bootlegging beer in the Bronx. The problem was that the Bronx was already under the control of the Rock brothers, John and Joe. A sporadic shooting war broke out which drove John Rock out of the city completely. Brother Joe decided to fight it out. Schultz ended the struggle by kidnapping Joe, hanging from a meat hook and beating him for several days and then taping his eyes closed with a gang that was infested with the gonorrhea virus. Rock’s family eventually paid $35,000 for his release but by then he had gone blind.
From the Bronx, Schultz branched out into Manhattan and once again stepped into a territory claimed by another bootlegger, this time the bootlegger was John Nolan, AKA Legs Diamond, a shrewd, tough Irish hoodlum who had been trained in the underworld arts by Arnold Rothstein.
As it was in the Bronx, a sporadic shooting war began in Manhattan between Schultz and Diamond. Arnold Rothstein backed Legs Diamond financial and took care of the gangster’s political protection. Rothstein wanted to avoid a street war and demanded that the two sides meet and settle their differences. They planned to meet on October 15, 1928 at the Chateau Madrid nightclub on West 54th Street near Sixth Avenue. At the meeting, an agreement was reached in which Diamond would give up some of his territories for cash from Schultz and Noe.
When the meeting end, at 7:30 AM, Schultz and Noe walked out onto the street and were ambushed by Diamonds gunmen. Although Noe was wearing a bullet-proof vest, one shell caught him in the lower spine. Schultz managed to fire off several shots and Diamond’s men speed off in blue Cadillac. When police found the car, Louis Weinberg (no relation to Shultz gang members Bo and George) was in the back seat, dead. Joey Noe died a month later from his wounds.
It was rumored that Schultz had ordered the death of Arnold Rothstein to avenge the death Joey Noe. There is some evidence to support the theory since George McManus, Rothstein’s alleged killer, called Schultz’ lawyer immediately after the shooting and Bo Weinberg picked up McManus an hour later and drove him out of the city and into hiding.
A month later, on October 1929, while Legs Diamond was staying at the at the Hotel Monticello, gunmen burst into the room and sprayed it with bullets, hitting Diamond five times. Remarkably he survived, but left for Europe shortly afterwards. He later pulled out of New York City completely and reestablished himself in Albany.
Schultz paid his men a salary, something that was virtually unheard off in the criminal world, and a part of the salary refused to allow them to moonlight on their own. In 1930, Vincent Coll AKA The Mad Mick, revolted, and demanded a percentage of Schultz’s beer and gambling empire, which, Coll’s mind, he had helped to build. Schultz, a notoriously cheap man, refused and Coll went to war with him. The bad blood between them may have started when Coll jumped bail on a bond put up by Schultz. When Schultz demanded payment, Coll refused, claiming Schultz owed him that amount and more.
On July 28, 1931, in broad daylight, Coll tried to kidnap Joey Rao, one of Schultz’s men. Coll’s men started shooting and accidently murdered a five-year boy named Michael Vengali. Several other children were wounded.
The outcry from the world was deafening and the New York City police cracked down on gangland harder than they had ever. Arrested for murder, Coll hired defense lawyer Samuel Leibowitz who ripped the state’s case apart and in December of 1931, Coll was acquitted.
By then, gangland had enough of Coll. On February 1, 1932, two killers hired by Mob boss Owney Madden, tracked Coll down to an apartment in the Bronx. But, Coll wasn’t there that day and in the ensuing gun battle, three of Coll’s men were killed and three were wounded. In February of 1932 Coll was lured into a drug store phone booth and then machine-gunned to death.
With the end of prohibition, Schultz spread out to gambling and the Harlem numbers racket. The numbers racket, essentially a lottery, was a simple formula. The players picked three numbers hoping to match the last three numbers taken from the odds at the racetrack, which was posted in the newspapers every morning.
Schultz’s man Otto Berman, AKA "Abbadabba," could calculate, in seconds, the minimum amount of money Schultz would need to bet at the track at the last minute in order to alter the odds, thereby ensuring that he always controlled which numbers won the lottery.
Indicted by U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Dewey for income tax evasion, Schultz used his influence to have the trail moved to far upstate New York. There, he doled out cash to virtually any local who asked for it. He sponsored charity events and contributed to local events. Not surprisingly, he was acquitted in the summer of 1935.
Aside from bootlegging, Schultz was also invested in extorting Manhattan restaurant owners and workers and union extortion. Schultz’s unions were organized under an association he had made up, the Metropolitan Restaurant & Cafeteria Owners, which was run for him by an enormous thug named Julius Modgilewsky, aka Julie Martin.
While Schultz was busy with his tax trial, Martin started skimming from the unions, assuming, like most, that Schultz would be found guilty and go to jail. Schultz lured Martin to a meeting at the Harmony Hotel in Cohoes, New York on March 2, 1935, when Martin admitted taking $20,000, Schultz, in front of a room full of witnesses and his lawyer, Schultz calming pulled out a revolver and shot Martin in the mouth. Later, he used a switchblade to cut his hear tout before dumping his lifeless body on the side of a deserted road.
When the trial ended, New York City officials flatly told Schultz that he was no longer welcomed in the city and that he and his gang who be arrested on site, repeatedly, if he didn’t leave on his own. Schultz moved across the river to Northern New Jersey.
At this point, Schultz appeared before the newly former national crime syndicate and advocated the assassination of Thomas Dewey, claiming, correctly it turned out, that if the mobs didn’t take get rid of Dewey, Dewey would get rid of them. Although waterfront Boss Mafia Boss agreed with Schultz, the others turned him down. Exactly what happened next isn’t know but either Schultz accused the other mobsters of setting him up for Dewey so they could take over his rackets, or he threatened to murder Dewey on his own, or both. Regardless, his fate was sealed. After Schultz left a vote was taken and it was agreed Schultz had outlived his time. Lepke Buchalter from Brooklyn was handed the contract to finish Schultz off.
At 10:15 on October 23, 1935, Schultz was meeting with Otto Berman, Abe Landau, and bodyguard his Lulu Rosenkrantz at the Palace Chophouse in Newark, New Jersey owned by Jacob Friedman, co-owner of the Chop House with Louis Rosenthal
The Dutchman had been using a backroom at the restaurant as his new headquarters since he had been chased out of New York. Schultz left the group and stepped into the men’s room. A few moments later, Charles ‘The Bug’ Workman and Emanuel ‘Mendy Weiss’ Weiss both part of Lepke Buchalter's Murder, Incorporated gang in Brooklyn burst into the restaurant.
Workman drew a .38 and emptied it towards the gangsters, while Weiss fired the shotgun.. Seven shots ripped through Rosenkrantz, six hot Berman and three struck Landau. The wounds were everywhere, wrists, elbow, shoulder, face and neck.
Workman rushed into the bathroom and found Schultz at the urinal. The Dutchman reached for a switchblade but Workman fired first, two shots. The first missed, the second entered the Dutchman’s chest, about an inch below the heart. It cut down through his spleen , stomach, colon, liver, and gall bladder and ripped out through his lower back.
After Schultz crumbled to the floor, he made his way back out to the main barroom but Weiss was gone. Remarkably, Rosenkrantz and Landau, had somehow found the strength to pull out their pistols, fired on Weiss and tried to follow him outside. Weiss leaped into the waiting getaway car and ordered Seymour "Piggy" Schechter to drive off. The abandoned Workman was forced to find his own way back to New York.
Schultz picked himself up from the tiled bathroom floor, put his hat on his head, staggered out of the bathroom and collapsed in a chair. He called for help and demanded someone phone an ambulance. At that, Rosenkrantz pulled himself up from the floor, staggered to the bar, slapped a quarter down on the bar and told the bartender to give him change for the phone. He managed to find his way into a phone booth and called police
"Send me an ambulance, I'm dying," he barked before he collapsed but police already had several calls about the shooting probably from the nearby bus terminal.
When the police arrived at the Chop House, they gave Schultz a glass of brandy to sip while he waited for the ambulance to take him. Landau, although bleeding to death, gave police a fake name and address. When they did arrive he handed them twenty dollars and asked them to take care of him quickly. Otto Berman was alive, but just barely. He died shortly after being taken to the hospital.
Landau died eight hours after being wheeled into the hospital. Having converted to Roman Catholicism shortly before his death, a priest, per Schultz's wife's request, performed the Last Rites of the church on Dutch. (Schultz claimed to be many things in his life including Orthodox Jew, Episcopalian and Roman Catholic. He did have a true interest in things religious and often, in times of crisis in his life, turned to various faiths for direction) The bullet had destroyed almost all of Schultz’s abdominal organs. He died of peritonitis 22 hours after being shot. Lulu Rosenkrantz, only 33 years old, died six hours later.
Joe The Greaser Rosenzweig
If there was a Jewish gangster that built Las Vegas it was this man, Moe Dalitz and not a lunatic like Bugsy Siegel
Boris Neyfield, Russian Jewish hood who shot his way into New York City
(some of ) The Purple Gang
Albert Tannenbaum AKA Tic Tock, a paid killer for Murder Inc.
Talking to strangers can boost your happiness level
By The Early Edition, CBC News
It might be a good idea to talk to strangers more often, according to Elizabeth Dunn, director of UBC's Happy Lab.
When you think about the people you talk to each day, friends, family and spouses tend to top the list. But research suggests that talking to a complete stranger can boost your happiness level and instill a greater sense of belonging.
This weekend is Vancouver's third annual Say Hi to a Stranger campaign, which organizes events at locations designed to encourage strangers to talk to one another.
The campaign aims to make the city a more welcoming place, and UBC psychology professor Elizabeth Dunn says there are additional personal benefits to be gained by participating.
The social phenomenon
Dunn's interest in this topic was sparked by her dating life as a graduate student and the behavioural patterns of her then boyfriend, Benjamin.
When Benjamin was in a bad mood, he would act in one of two ways: He would either act cranky and sulky around Dunn, his long-time girlfriend "because he could get away with it," or if he bumped into a casual acquaintance or a random stranger, "he would perk up and act pleasant and cheerful," Dunn said.
Dunn noticed that the latter would more often than not break him out of his funk.
"Being a social psychologist, I decided to bring in hundreds of romantic couples to dig deep into this phenomenon and figure out what was going on."
To test her theory, Dunn recruited hundreds of heterosexual romantic couples who had been dating for at least three months.
For the experiment, half of the couples were randomly assigned to interact with their own partner, while the other half were instructed to interact with the opposite-gender partner of a different couple.
Before beginning, participants were asked to predict how much they thought they would enjoy the interaction. Afterward, they were asked to record how much they actually did enjoy the interaction.
While individuals accurately predicted feeling good after interacting with their romantic partners, they didn't expect to benefit from speaking with people they'd never met before.
"When people interacted with this random stranger from the other couple, they acted pleasant and cheerful, just like Benjamin had. This provided a boost to their mood that they failed to foresee ahead of time."
Dunn's research has found that this kind of social interaction not only boosts mood levels, but can also increase the sense of belonging in a community.
The benefits of small talk
There's a great deal of variability in the degree to which individuals are inclined to chat with strangers, Dunn said.
While extroverts typically recognize that it will feel good to chat with other people, introverts also get benefits, but tend not to recognize that beforehand, Dunn said.
"They think that it will be more painful than it really is."
Dunn admits these casual interactions are unlikely to be particularly deep, meaningful or stimulating.
"But it turns out that just exchanging those random pleasantries with the people around us can actually uplift our moods in ways that we may overlook."
To hear the full interview with Elizabeth Dunn, listen to the audio labelled: The benefits of talking to strangers.
(Chicago) Capone Al: Born 1899 Died 1947 Gang Leader. Al Capone would become America’s most famous bootlegger, an odd distinction since Capone was primarily a procurer, a pimp and, despite his fame, Capone would always be more of a legend than an influence on organized crime. He was widely regarded in his day, on both sides of the law, as a crude buffoon who ended his own career through his desire for fame and notoriety. Capone owed his celebrity to the local and eventually the national media who were desperate to find a central point in Chicago’s extremely disorganized and violent bootlegger business. The press took his garbled words and rearranged them often times into witty insightful messages and commentary on the day.
In 1922, Capone, who was more or less still a procurer and part-time enforcer, was making $2,000 a week, more money then he ever dreamed he could make but it was still a mere fraction compared to the millions that Boss Johnny Torrio was piling away.
Towards the end of 1927 he said he “fooled away about ten million on gambling,” he tipped newsboys $5 for a five newspaper, and $100 for a waiter.
He once bought a round a drinks in a country club speakeasy in New York for 1000 people. He wore a pinky ring imported from South Africa worth $50,000. In 1929 his car cost $30,000, at Christmas he spent $100,000 on miscellaneous gifts. Tourist buses stopped in front of “Capone’s castles,” the otherwise shabby Hawthorne Inn in Cicero and the Metropole hotel in Chicago. When he attended a prize fight it made the sports column, the London Daily Mail sent a reporter to cover “A week in the life of Al Capone” and feature stories of personal glimpses of the gangster sold for a flat $100.
As his fame grew so did his ego. Always vain, he explained the horrible scars on his face and neck (Gotten in a knife fight in a bar room) to heroic actions in the trenches during World War One while fighting with the “Lost battalion” in France. (Capone never served in the military)
He distributed diamond inlet belts and gave away ruby encrusted cigarette lighters. He would outlast four police chiefs; he was credited with killing between 20 and 65 men himself and ordered the killing of at least 400 others and was never charged with one of them. He outlived several dozen investigations, committees and prosecutors. There was nothing about Capone to mark him for fame and fortune. He dropped out of sixth grade after punching his teacher in the old Williamsburg section of New York; he impressed no one and was known only for being mediocre, a soft-spoken nonentity.
It was commonly accepted in the Underworld that Torrio was the brains in the Chicago outfit and Capone was the muscle. However, after Capone over threw Torrio, he proved to be more than just the gorilla that most gang leaders pegged him to be and for what he lacked in intelligence and education, his underlying provided.
Capone’s criminal empire included the ownership of breweries, distilleries, speakeasies, warehouses, fleets of boats and trucks, nightclubs, gambling houses, horse and dog tracks, brothels, labor unions, hundreds of private businesses, he employed at least 1,000 full-time enforcers, one third of the Chicago police department and several thousand other employees. His gross income was an estimated $105,000,000 for the year, at a time when a middle class American family got by, and very well, on less then $8,000.
That was in 1927. By 1933, it was all gone and Al Capone was nothing more than a number in the federal prison system. He died broke and powerless, twelve years later. In Atlanta prison in 1936, Al Capone told Red Rudensky, a burglar, “Uncle Sam got me on a bookkeeping rap. Ain’t that the best!”?
“He would,” Rudensky wrote, “roar with a choke and cough with laughter but not for long as reality would strangle his humor.” Then Capone would say, “Rusty, if I could just go for a walk. If I could just look at buildings again, and smell that Lake Michigan, I’d give a million.”
Capone was resented, even hated in prison. Kidnapper and bank robber Alvin Karpis wrote: “The majority of the population in any prison is made up of losers from the gutter of society. Most of them aren’t even wanted at their own homes when they are released. They resent anyone who has had prosperity on the outside.”
Jimmy Lucus was one of those inmates. Surly and mean, Lucas worked at the Alcatraz barbershop with Capone and wanted to make a name for himself. One day while Capone was practicing his banjo Lucas slipped up behind him and shoved a pair of shears into Capone’s back. Capone grunted deeply in pain, stood up with the shears still sticking out of his back, turned and picked Lucas up and smashed him face first into the pillar before he collapsed in pain from the superficial wound. Karpis wrote: “In Alcatraz, he’s a fish out of water. He knows nothing of prison life. For example, he is allowed to subscribe to various magazines, and, like other prisoners, he is permitted to send magazines to other inmates after he reads them. Ironically, Capone, who gave orders to eliminate hundreds of lives, is now confined to rubbing out names on his magazine list when he becomes displeased or annoyed with fellow cons. It’s kind of sad, I conclude.”
Capone had contracted syphilis in or about 1927, something he knew but failed to treat. When prison doctors finally began to treat Capone’s syphilis, it was too late to correct the damage that was done to his body. With his nervous system infected by the disease, he was slowly losing his kind. But even before then, Capone was, said other inmates, losing his mind, talking about “Connected people in Washington” who would pull strings to get him released. He said that he had paid $20,000 in bribes already. It may not have been all babble. In 1939, the wife of well connected Chicago gangster Gus Winkler, told the FBI that some of Capone’s friends in the organization were trying to get him released before Frank Nitti, the boss who followed Capone, ended their efforts.
Capone was released to the care of his wife on November 7, 1939, and spent his freedom on his estate in Palm Island, Florida “reading newspapers,” his brother Ralph reported, “and walking the grounds to get some sunshine.” He spent his summers at a retreat in Mercer, Wisconsin, where brother Ralph had retired and opened a bar room. Otherwise, Capone kept out of the limelight and enjoyed his freedom. He made a brief appearance in 1941, when his son, Sonny married a Florida society woman.
The press, perhaps in a moment of nostalgic bliss, wrote one glowing story after another for Capone in January of 1942, when
Capone offered his services to the war effort “in any capacity to aid the national defense.” The government never called him back but his famous armored car was helping the British war effort in 1942, being driven around to fairs and carnivals to raise cash for its new owner and the Queen’s government. In July of 1942 the Treasury Department sued Capone in federal court and demanded payment of back taxes totaling $250,000 which the government claimed Capone made during prohibition selling 19,984 bottles of beer between 1921 and 1922. They were probably wrong about the dates since at that point Capone was still a low level operative in the Torrio organization. But the government was relentless anyway. Prosecutors were sure Capone had tucked away at least $25,000,000 of his fortune and they it. But insiders later said that Capone had perhaps $5,000,000 left and before he died most that was spent or given away to his son. In the end, the tax people settled for $30,000.
On January 25, 1947 Capone died in his $8,000,000 heavily mortgaged mansion in Florida. He had suffered an apoplectic seizure and then contacted pneumonia. Remarkably, he was only 52 years old. With him at the last moments were his ever-faithful wife, Mae, his son, his mother and three of his brothers, Ralph, Matt and John.
He was buried in Chicago’s Mount Olivet cemetery on a bitter cold day, his coffin was draped in orchards. Although a dozen of the old time bosses that had known Capone in his prime were allowed to attend the burial, Chicago ruling boss, Tony Accardo, forbade a large mob turn out saying “I don’t want this thing turning into a Goddamn circus” Capone’s wife and son, with all of their money gone, spent their last days living off of the good will of Mob boss Paul Ricca.
(Chicago) Cerone, John Peter AKA Jackie the Lacky. The eighth of eleven children of Italian immigrant children. He dropped out of grade to work as a runner for the Capone organization. In 1937, at age 23, he was arrested as a suspect in the murder of a West Side gangster. A coroner's jury reported it could find no evidence that Cerone was involved in the killing. At the time Cerone said he was a waiter in a saloon at Chicago and Hamlin Avenues. By the mid 1940s Cerone had become a chauffeur and protégé of Anthony Accardo, a Capone-era mobster and then crime syndicate boss.
On face value, Cerone was a smiling, grandfatherly hood. Once, during a trial when a witness could not point him out, he jumped to his feet, waved and said, "Here I am, Howie." but it was a thin veneer that masked a completely ruthless interior. "He was a little more . . . cordial than other hoodlums but just as bloodthirsty," said Jerry Gladden, chief investigator of the Chicago Crime Commission.
By the 1970s, Cerone was rumored to be the boss of the mob or at least was well on his way to becoming boss before he was arrested and convicted on interstate gambling charges and sent to prison for 3 1/2 years. When he was released in 1973, Cerone was
Appointed Underboss of the Outfit, ruling in a sort of partnership with the ailing and aging Tony Accardo and Joey Aiuppa.
On September 23, 1985, Cerone was indicted for skimming millions form the Las Vegas Casino and for hiding his secret interest in the Stardust casino. On March 25, 1986, Cerone, then 71 years old, was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in conspiring to steal $2 million from a Las Vegas casino. He was also ordered to pay fines totaling $80,000, make restitution of $30,710 to Nevada gaming authorities and pay $32,614 in court costs.
Specifically, Cerone received a 4-year sentence for conspiring to conceal ownership of the Stardust Casino and skimming $2 million in profits from its counting room. Each of the other seven counts brought 3 1/2-year sentences. Those charges dealt with interstate travel to carry out the conspiracy.
Just before he was sentenced Cerone told reporters "one year or 40 years makes no difference because it will be my death sentence."
Joseph Aiuppa, Cerone’s boss, hood Angelo LaPietra, Joey Lombardo, and Milton Rockmam, a financial backer for the Cleveland mob were also found guilty and sentenced.
He was released from prison due to poor health on July 16, 1996. Cerone, a self-proclaimed bookmaker, died July 22, 1996, six days after he was paroled from prison. He was 82 and had been taking medication for a heart ailment since 1957. He had spent 10 1/2 years in jail and lived six decades in the underworld.
(Chicago) Cruz, Robert Charles: On December 4, 1997, a few days after his cousin, Harry Aleman, was sentenced for a murder, Robert Charles Cruz disappeared from his home where he was last seen hanging Christmas lights from the gutters on the roof of the house. Although his credit cards and bank accounts never were touched, police suspected that Cruz had purposely vanished for his own reasons. Cruz had spent 14 years on Death Row in Arizona before his conviction for hiring three men to kill a Phoenix businessman named Patrick Redmond and his mother-in-law on New Year's Eve in 1980 was overturned and a new trial ordered. Redman refused to sell an interest in his Phoenix printing shop to Cruz, who wanted to use it to launder money from Las Vegas connections. Redmond's 70- year-old mother-in-law was visiting and died after her throat was cut. Cruz was tried four more times. He was acquitted in 1995 after the jury decided the state's primary witness, a participant in the killings, was unreliable.
Ten years later, in 2007, what was left of Cruz’s body was found wrapped in tarpaulin and carpet, buried 8 1/2 feet underground in a suburban mob burial ground. In 1988, the police found two other bodies on the site, Robert Anthony Hatridge, an associate of Outfit killer-turned informant Gerald Scarpelli and Mark Oliver, a minor organized crime figure. The site was close to the home of Outfit member Joseph Jerome Scalise. It appeared Cruz had been shot to death.
HERE'S SOME NICE ART FOR YOU TO LOOK AT....ENJOY!
Ryan Tippery 2015
Gari Melchers, The Communicant, c. 1900
Glauco Cambon (1875 - 1930) - Il velo azzurro, 1907
Grigorii Choros-Gurkin, Lake of the Spirits of the Mountains, 1909
I LOVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS FROM FILM
Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”
THE BOOK OF FUNNY, ODD AND INTERESTING THINGS THAT PEOPLE SAY
John William Tuohy
Reasons for Leaving the Last Job
Terminated after saying, "It would be a blessing to be fired."
Responsibility makes me nervous.
Being in trouble with the law, I moved quite frequently.
In my last position, got nowhere as part of a 60-person herd.
I did not give the company my full effort and received no chance of advancement in return.
Note: Please don't misconstrue my 14 jobs as job-hopping. I have never quit a job.
My last employer insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 every morning. I couldn't work under those conditions.
Was met with a string of broken promises and lies, as well as cockroaches.
I was working for my mom until she decided to move.
The company made me a scapegoat - just like my three previous employers.
ALSO AVAILABLE FROM LLR BOOKS
What Love is…..
Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold. Zelda Fitzgerald
Books At Home Predict Academic Achievement, Especially For Low-Income Families
By Lisa Rodriguez • May 12, 2015
There’s a simple, inexpensive way parents can promote academic success in kids. Surround them with books.
Researcher Mariah Evans headed a 20-year, worldwide study that found “the presence of books in the home” to be the top predictor of whether a child will attain a high level of education.
More so even, than the education level of their parents. Those from highly educated and higher-income families however, may not feel the difference quite as significantly.
“One of the things that is most striking to us about it is that the book’s effect appears to be even larger and more important for children from very disadvantaged homes,” Evans told Steve Kraske on Up To Date.
She said the effects can be seen both in academic performance, and in how much education children complete.
And there are several organizations in Kansas City, who are taking unconventional routes to get books in disadvantaged families’ homes — before they ever step foot in a school.
Reach Out & Read partners with 46 clinics across the Kansas-Missouri state line. Each time a child comes in to these clinics for their “well-child” check up between the ages of 0-5, they receive a new book along with prescribed advice from a trusted doctor to parents: read together, share these books as a family.
By the time a child turns five, if they go to all their scheduled appointments, they could have 13 new books to call their own. Plus, any other time they see a doctor, they can select a gently used book from the waiting room to take home.
“The idea is that in low income families, the medical provider is a very trusted person in these people's lives, so to receive that advice from a medical provider is important,” Mark Mattison, executive director of Read Out & Read told Kraske.
He said another benefit of working through clinics is that they can start building a library for children before they reach school age. Evans said that is the time of a kid’s life when books have the greatest impact.
United Way of Greater Kansas City has partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in their Fight for Literacy campaign. Leslie, who called in to Up To Date, said that volunteers are canvassing some of Kansas City’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods to sign families up for the program, which sends a new book to the family each month.
Mattison sees potential for a great partnership between this initiative and Reach Out & Read.
“In the [doctor's] visit when we’re giving out the free book and the prescriptive advice on how to share books with kids [we can] tell them about how they can also sign up for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and get a free book every month.”
Through such efforts, these organizations can ensure that families and children continue to get more bang for their book.
Bail Reform: An Enduring Problem
By James Santel, Senior Writer
Among advocates of criminal justice reform, fixing our nation's broken bail policies is at the top of the to-do list. As Nick Pinto documents in his cover story in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine ("The Bail Trap," 8/17/2015), far too many innocent Americans find themselvse in jail simply because they cannot post bail.
This is hardly a new problem; it preoccupies reformers in 2015 as it preoccupied Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in the 1960s. As Peter Goldberg, executive director of the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, tells Pinto in the Times article, "Robert Kennedy, when he was attorney general, raised exactly the concerns with bail we’re talking about now. Fifty years later, we’re still having the conversation."
Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1964, Attorney General Kennedy said, "Every year in this country, thousands of persons are kept in jail for weeks and even months following arrest. They are not yet proven guilty. They may be no more likely to flee than you or I. But nonetheless, most of them must stay in jail because, to be blunt, they cannot afford to pay for their freedom."
Robert Kennedy was instrumental in passing the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 and the Bail Reform Act of 1966, both of which made significant changes to bail policies in federal proceedings. But these acts didn't affect state and local jurisdictions, which account for the bulk of the nation's prison population--and which are today the target of renewed calls for changes.
Scott Morrison describes paid parental leave as 'a first-world issue'
The social services minister, Scott Morrison, says paid parental leave is “a first-world issue” after the Human Rights Commission warned the government’s scheme could infringe on human rights.
In July the commission recommended the government’s bill proposing changes to paid parental leave not be passed. In a submission to a Senate inquiry it argued the bill “introduces a retrogressive measure which is inconsistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations”.
The changes would remove the ability of new parents to access both government and employer schemes, an entitlement opponents have called “double-dipping”.
Morrison told reporters on Monday the submission showed the commission had its priorities wrong.
“I find it extraordinary that the Human Rights Commission would consider this a priority matter when those who would not get a second payment have an average family income of $150,000,” he said.
“A family income of $150,000 and the Human Rights Commission is addressing whether people get two payments instead of one. I think that says a bit about their priorities.”
Pushed on whether he thought it was a human rights issue, Morrison said said, “It’s certainly a first-world issue ... and I think that people have more deep concerns about this, and what we’re doing is ensuring our welfare system is well-targeted and focused on those most in need.”
The commission’s submission is in line with the warnings issued by the joint parliamentary committee on human rights, which reported that changes to paid parental leave might be discriminatory and limit primary caregivers’ rights to welfare.
“The reduction of access to paid parental leave engages and limits the right to social security,” the committee said. “The statement of compatibility [provided by the government regarding the bill] does not sufficiently justify that limitation for the purposes of international human rights law.”
The report said most primary caregivers were women, and the bill therefore disproportionately affected women, making it discriminatory.
The proposed changes will save the government almost $1bn by abandoning the current payment of $11,500, offered to women earning up to $150,000 a year, if they receive that much or more from their employers.
Labor and the Greens oppose the measures, setting up the possibility of the bill failing in the Senate. The government will need the support of six of the eight crossbenchers for the changes to pass.
Morrison argued that the government’s changes would bolster women’s workplace participation, particularly among the lower paid.
“The good thing about paid parental leave is that the 18 weeks’ paid parental leave has meant that those who previously didn’t get it, those who were working for small businesses, not for large companies and large public sector agencies, those who didn’t get it at all, are now getting it,” he said.
“What we are doing is we are seeking to have a fairer paid parental leave scheme, one that turns it from a union deal into a genuine safety net.”
Morrison said he was “in discussions” with the Senate over the measures, but would not be drawn on whether he was confident the changes would go through.
“When and if it’s passed is a matter for the Senate,” he said.
The prime minister, Tony Abbott, was forced to water down his “signature” paid parental leave scheme late last year after a backlash from the public and his own party who criticised it for being overly generous. The old policy would have seen high income earners receive 26 weeks’ parental leave at full pay, up to $75,000.
The Basic Income Debate: Political, Philosophical and Economic Issues
by DANIEL RAVENTÓS - JULIE WARK
Support for a universal basic income (defined here) is growing. In Europe, for example, the City of Utrecht is about to introduce an experiment that aims “to challenge the notion that people who receive public money need to be patrolled and punished,” in the words of a project manager for the Utrecht city council. Nijmegen, Wageningen, Tilburg and Groningen are awaiting permission from The Hague in order to conduct similar programmes. In Switzerland, the necessary 100,000 signatures have been obtained for holding a referendum on whether Swiss citizens should receive an unconditional basic income of €2,500 per month, independently of whether they are employed or not. On 16 June, the centre-right government of Finland, where 79% of the population is in favour of a universal basic income, made good on its electoral promise and ratified the implementation of an “experimental basic income”. A recent survey in Catalonia (13 to 17 July) shows that 72.3% of the population (basically excepting the right-wing and wealthiest sectors) would support a basic income of €650 per month, and, contrary to a tiresomely hackneyed claim, 86.2% say they would continue working if the measure were introduced. More notably, 84.4% of the unemployed say they’d still want to work.
These are tentative or incomplete measures but they’re also significant because they mean empowering individuals, economically – and also politically – in a situation where global power is largely in the hands of unelected institutions and other obscure organs, as the recent mauling of Greece has made more than clear. However, growing interest in basic income doesn’t mean smooth sailing ahead towards implementation. Long-disproved arguments are still being raised against it and dubious “alternative” proposals such as “guaranteed work”, “full employment” and conditional minimum guaranteed income are brandished. With a basic income people won’t engage in wage labour, women will be confined to the home, immigrants will “swarm” in (as David Cameron would say), it would take a revolution to introduce it, and it would kill off the welfare state. Never mind that these assertions have been soundly rebutted in several different languages, they still rear their silly heads. There are still other misunderstandings (or downright lies) that need to be addressed because social and economic inequalities are increasing so fast, and basic income is an ideal measure for combating them.
First is the question of financing. There’s not a lot of detailed material on this key aspect yet but a recent study carried out in Spain, based on two million income tax declarations made in 2010 (in the midst of the economic crisis) is eloquent. The study was based on three criteria: 1) the basic income of €623 per month should be self-financing and not affect public spending in health, education, etc.; 2) the distributive impact should be highly progressive so that over 80% of the population would benefit; and 3) that effective tax rates after the reform should not be very high. The basic income has to be at or above the poverty line (€623 in Spain). It would not be subject to personal income tax and would replace all welfare benefits of a lesser sum than €623, while people receiving more than this in benefits would still get the full amount.
Financing this basic income for all adults in Spain – 43.7 million people – is possible with a single tax rate of 49% which, combined with a tax-exempt basic income, would be highly progressive. For the poorest decile, this 49% would effectively become -209% (negative because, in this case, it would be a net transfer). Approximately 80% of the population would gain and the total amount transferred from rich to non-rich would be some €35,000 million. This is not to take into account the problem of tax evasion (calculated at some €80,000 million) in Spain.
Ah yes, they say, but this model of financing would “adversely affect the middle classes”. Middle classes? In Spain, a person earning just €3,500 per month is in the top two deciles, while those earning €4,500 are in the top 5%. These figures come from official tax declarations! Whether from ignorance or bad faith, many people won’t recognise that this points to a huge problem of tax fraud, which needs urgent attention, especially if any tax reform in favour of the non-rich population is to be undertaken. Data published by the Swiss global financial services company UBS AG reveals that just 22 Spanish billionaires have a total fortune equalling 5% of Spanish GDP (or about 60% of the national healthcare budget, for example). If the real richest members of the population were detected through personal income tax, basic income financing would be easier, the tax rate lower and sectors that might lose in the present model would end up gaining. This stubborn idea that basic income would be an assault on the middle classes encourages some farcical fence-sitting postures. Hence, the PSOE (Socialist Party) claims it supports “basic income” (but means guaranteed minimum income), while others on the more or less postmodern left have entered the premier league of intellectual contortionism when asserting that basic income and guaranteed minimum income are “more or less the same”. These misconceptions are politically damaging because they’ve led progressives to support “more moderate” proposals.
Unfortunately, the new left-wing party Podemos is trying to dodge the basic income question. Although its grassroots members are pushing quite hard for a basic income, Podemos has put forth a Guaranteed Minimum Income Plan, without apparently doing the sums. Our calculations show that 50% of the population would be adversely affected because of changing the present income tax structure without compensating with a basic income. This is very different from a policy affecting the richest 20%. It seems that some Podemos leaders, turning a deaf ear to the views of its grassroots members, are saying that basic income is “too radical”. But, really? Is guaranteeing the material existence of the whole population too scary when Spain’s wealth gap is the biggest in Europe and, in global terms, the top 1% will own more than the 99% by 2016?
What’s really scary is the general acceptance of a status quo in which most people are getting poorer and poorer, even while recent studies demonstrate that so-called “trickle-down” economics actually means an upwards flow of income until it stagnates as hoarded wealth. This stymies wealth creation in the economy, as the Institute for Policy Studies concluded after using standard economic multiplier models to show that every extra dollar paid to low-wage workers adds about $1.21 to the US economy. If this dollar went to a high-wage worker it would add only 39 cents to GDP. In other words, if the $26.7 billion paid in bonuses to Wall Street punters in 2013 had gone to poor workers, GDP would have risen by some $32.3 billion.
Money at the bottom is over three times more effective at driving economic growth than money at the top. It’s common sense, though the theory has the fancy title of “marginal propensity to consume”: people with small incomes spend their money quickly and the rich hoard theirs. With today’s monstrous wealth gap, the velocity of the dollar in the total money supply is lower than it has ever been. Also logical. Indeed, a new model produced by Ricardo Reis and Alistair McKay shows that “tax-and-transfer programs that affect inequality and social insurance can have a large effect on aggregate volatility”. Even IMF data suggest that increasing the share of the top 20% by just 1% of total wealth lowers economic growth by 0.08 points. But if the bottom 20% receives the same 1% share, economic growth increases by 0.38 points. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to introduce a universal basic income? Scott Santens calculates that, in the United States, redistribution in the form of a basic income of $1,000 per month for every adult citizen and $300 for under-eighteens would cost about $1.5 trillion – about 8.5% of GDP – taking into account the elimination of benefits that are no longer required once a basic income is operational. The total cost of child poverty alone is around 5.7% of GDP.
If inequality is killing economic growth, then neoliberal economics have surely failed. The OECD finds that, “Rising inequality is estimated to have knocked more than 10 percentage points off growth in Mexico and New Zealand over the past two decades up to the Great Recession. In Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, the cumulative growth rate would have been six to nine percentage points higher had income disparities not widened….” The key point here is that anti-poverty programmes can never be enough because the, “impact of inequality on growth stems from the gap between the bottom 40 percent with the rest of society, not just the poorest 10 percent”. If the cash transfer programme is to be effective about half the population must benefit. This sounds very like the universal basic income proposal that has been presented in Spain. Reducing income concentration at the top where money makes money to hoard is more than a moral issue or matter of justice but is economic savvy, as increasing numbers of reputable economists are now realising, for example (Baron) Robert Skidelsky.
However sound the economic arguments may be and however long they’ve been around in Spain, partial solutions keep being touted as “alternatives” to basic income. Guaranteed work is one, pushed, inter alia, by the left-wing party Izquierda Unida (IU), although it’s much more expensive (€10 gross per hour would cost the state €233,422 million) in the long term and less effective than a basic income, which would come into immediate effect to alleviate the distressing working (or non-working) and living conditions of the poorest sector. Worse, “guaranteed work” (which doesn’t take domestic or voluntary work into account) has a pathetic notion of freedom. It assumes that people must work for a salary, the inference being that if people have a basic income they’d hang around all day twiddling their thumbs. Spain has the worst unemployment figures in the OECD countries (over 15% for 25 out of the last 37 years, while the second-worst showing, by Ireland, has hit this figure in only nine of these 37 years) and, moreover, guaranteed work proposals have been devised for economies with relatively small numbers of unemployed workers. In short, the idea is pure codswallop, especially when it is demonstrated that a basic income would strengthen workers’ bargaining positions and stimulate more small businesses.
One outlandish (but no less widespread for that) criticism of basic income is that it wouldn’t combat the “sexual division of labour”. Neither would the public health system put an end to the sexual division of labour! Basic income would tackle quite a few social problems but not this one. What it can do is give women a lot more autonomy in many aspects of their lives, which is no small thing. Basic income isn’t a whole economic policy. It would be part of an economic policy favouring the non-rich population. Other social problems like the sexual division of labour, generalised indifference to scientific knowledge, private powers imposing their Weltanschauung on everyone else, corruption, human trafficking, brutality towards refugees and immigrants… must also be dealt with, but with specific, appropriate instruments. It could be argued that a society with less inequality and more concern for human beings would be more likely to produce such instruments.
Then we get to some more economic argy-bargy. Wielding Austrian School arguments, some right-wingers proclaim the advantages of low tax rates on a broad base. An increased tax rate for a basic income, they say, would reduce the tax base, the tax collected and the elasticity of the tax base, adding that not taking this elasticity into account would annul any conclusion. In fact, the empirical evidence from studies in Spain shows that increased taxes wouldn’t cause lower elasticity with a negative effect on economic activity but would give higher elasticity: more tax, more GDP, and higher tax collection. Higher taxes for the rich allow for more public spending, which has a positive effect on economic activity, generating more income and compensating for possible disincentives. It was beyond the scope of the Spanish basic income study to calculate in detail the positive effects the basic income might have on economic activity and hence tax collection but, clearly, the poorer 80% of the population which gains would consume more than the richer 20%, so a strong welfare state, financed by taxes and with a system of social benefits, including a basic income, would achieve higher labour force participation and employment rates and, it follows, greater equality and general well-being, as well as a much more resilient economy in an unstable global system.
Basic income isn’t just a measure against poverty but would be an integral part of an overall economic policy which would stimulate economic growth and give a guaranteed material existence and hence effective freedom to all members of society. This effective freedom of the non-rich bears the seed of subversive political power, which is why the right presents sops such as the minimum guaranteed income which Hayek enthusiasts, who believe that taxes are robbery, support as a kind of charity. But charity is the antithesis of justice. It depends on the freely determined whims of the better-off giving to the unfree poor who are denied human dignity precisely because they’re forced to be on the receiving end of charity. Basic income doesn’t benefit everyone but is concerned to improve the lot of the non-rich part of the population. Its anti-neoliberal foundations are to be found in classical republican thought and its insistence that a person can’t be free if the means of his or her material existence are not guaranteed. One of the main advantages of a universal basic income is that it would free people from the tyranny of the job market in which they are mere commodities by guaranteeing the most basic human right of all, that of material existence. A basic income upholds not just the right to a dignified life but, in practical terms, would allow people to expand their lives and defend themselves against assaults on their freedom and dignity.
Finally, since these basic human rights are declared as universal, there’s one more basic income myth that should be knocked on the head, namely that it’s a policy that only rich countries can contemplate. Experiments in Brazil, Namibia and South Africa, Mexico, India, Kenya and Malawi show that modest, partial, basic income projects have impressive economic and social results. In Namibia, for example, a two-year pilot project (2007–2009) in Otjivero-Omitara, a low-income rural area, where 930 inhabitants received a monthly payment of 100 Namibian dollars each (US$12.4), reduced poverty from 76% to 16%; child malnutrition fell from 42% to 10%; school dropout rates plummeted from 40% to almost 0%; average family debt dropped by 36%; and local police reported that delinquency figures were 42% lower; and the number of small businesses increased, as did the purchasing power of the inhabitants, thereby creating a market for new products.
The main obstacle to basic income today is political (and psychological if greed is understood as pathological) because, no, it doesn’t favour the rich but, rather, in moral terms and sound economics, it calls on them to contribute just a smidgen of their wealth to safeguard the right of a dignified existence for everyone. But, it’s not just a matter of getting the rich to pony up. The real snag is that people at the bottom, instead of helplessly holding out their hands to catch the non-existent trickle, might start transforming society and the economy according to their own lights and in defence of their own dignity. It’s unlikely that the 1% of revoltingly rich people will sit back and let their own extinction happen.
Daniel Raventós is a lecturer in Economics at the University of Barcelona and author inter alia of Basic Income: The Material Conditions of Freedom (Pluto Press, 2007). He is on the editorial board of the international political review Sin Permiso. Julie Wark is an advisory board member of the international political review Sin Permiso. Her last book is The Human Rights Manifesto (Zero Books, 2013).
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It's Not All Right to be a Foster Kid....no matter what they tell you: Tweet the books contents
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From the Author
I spent my childhood, from age seven through seventeen, in foster care. Over the course of those ten years, many decent, well-meaning, and concerned people told me, "It's okay to be foster kid."
In saying that, those very good people meant to encourage me, and I appreciated their kindness then, and all these many decades later, I still appreciate their good intentions. But as I was tossed around the foster care system, it began to dawn on me that they were wrong. It was not all right to be a foster kid.
During my time in the system, I was bounced every eighteen months from three foster homes to an orphanage to a boy's school and to a group home before I left on my own accord at age seventeen.
In the course of my stay in foster care, I was severely beaten in two homes by my "care givers" and separated from my four siblings who were also in care, sometimes only blocks away from where I was living.
I left the system rather than to wait to age out, although the effects of leaving the system without any family, means, or safety net of any kind, were the same as if I had aged out. I lived in poverty for the first part of my life, dropped out of high school, and had continuous problems with the law.
Today, almost nothing about foster care has changed. Exactly what happened to me is happening to some other child, somewhere in America, right now. The system, corrupt, bloated, and inefficient, goes on, unchanging and secretive.
Something has gone wrong in a system that was originally a compassionate social policy built to improve lives but is now a definitive cause in ruining lives. Due to gross negligence, mismanagement, apathy, and greed, mostly what the foster care system builds are dangerous consequences. Truly, foster care has become our epic national disgrace and a nightmare for those of us who have lived through it.
Yet there is a suspicion among some Americans that foster care costs too much, undermines the work ethic, and is at odds with a satisfying life. Others see foster care as a part of the welfare system, as legal plunder of the public treasuries.
None of that is true; in fact, all that sort of thinking does is to blame the victims. There is not a single child in the system who wants to be there or asked to be there. Foster kids are in foster care because they had nowhere else to go. It's that simple. And believe me, if those kids could get out of the system and be reunited with their parents and lead normal, healthy lives, they would. And if foster care is a sort of legal plunder of the public treasuries, it's not the kids in the system who are doing the plundering.
We need to end this needless suffering. We need to end it because it is morally and ethically wrong and because the generations to come will not judge us on the might of our armed forces or our technological advancements or on our fabulous wealth.
Rather, they will judge us, I am certain, on our compassion for those who are friendless, on our decency to those who have nothing and on our efforts, successful or not, to make our nation and our world a better place. And if we cannot accomplish those things in the short time allotted to us, then let them say of us "at least they tried."
You can change the tragedy of foster care and here's how to do it. We have created this book so that almost all of it can be tweeted out by you to the world. You have the power to improve the lives of those in our society who are least able to defend themselves. All you need is the will to do it.
If the American people, as good, decent and generous as they are, knew what was going on in foster care, in their name and with their money, they would stop it. But, generally speaking, although the public has a vague notion that foster care is a mess, they don't have the complete picture. They are not aware of the human, economic and social cost that the mismanagement of the foster care system puts on our nation.
By tweeting the facts laid out in this work, you can help to change all of that. You can make a difference. You can change things for the better.
We can always change the future for a foster kid; to make it better ...you have the power to do that. Speak up (or tweet out) because it's your country. Don't depend on the "The other guy" to speak up for these kids, because you are the other guy.
We cannot build a future for foster children, but we can build foster children for the future and the time to start that change is today.
No time to say Goodbye: Memoirs of a life in foster
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