Monthly Archives: August 2009


Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, in 2001 working on his remarks before a patient’s bill of rights rally. More Photos >

Published: August 26, 2009
Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, a son of one of the most storied families in American politics, a man who knew acclaim and tragedy in near-equal measure and who will be remembered as one of the most effective lawmakers in the history of the Senate, died late Tuesday night. He was 77.  

Kennedy Family Tree: Three Generations of Politics

 The Takeaway With John M. Broder
 The Takeaway With Carl Hulse

The death of Mr. Kennedy, who had been battling brain cancer, was announced Wednesday morning in a statement by the Kennedy family, which was already mourning the death of the senator’s sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver two weeks earlier.
“Edward M. Kennedy — the husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle we loved so deeply — died late Tuesday night at home in Hyannis Port,” the statement said. “We’ve lost the irreplaceable center of our family and joyous light in our lives, but the inspiration of his faith, optimism and perseverance will live on in our hearts forever.”
President Obama said Mr. Kennedy was one of the nation’s greatest senators.
“His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives — in seniors who know new dignity, in families that know new opportunity, in children who know education’s promise, and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just — including myself,” he said. Mr. Obama is scheduled to speak at a funeral Mass for Mr. Kennedy on Saturday morning in Boston.
Mr. Kennedy had been in precarious health since he suffered a seizure in May 2008. His doctors determined the cause was a malignant glioma, a brain tumor that carries a grim prognosis.
As he underwent cancer treatment, Mr. Kennedy was little seen in Washington, appearing most recently at the White House in April as Mr. Obama signed a national service bill that bears the Kennedy name. In a letter last week, Mr. Kennedy urged Massachusetts lawmakers to change state law and let Gov. Deval Patrick appoint a temporary successor upon his death, to assure that the state’s representation in Congress would not be interrupted.
While Mr. Kennedy was physically absent from the capital in recent months, his presence was deeply felt as Congress weighed the most sweeping revisions to America’s health care system in decades, an effort Mr. Kennedy called “the cause of my life.”
On July 15, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Mr. Kennedy headed, passed health care legislation, and the battle over the proposed overhaul is now consuming Capitol Hill.
Mr. Kennedy was the last surviving brother of a generation of Kennedys that dominated American politics in the 1960s and that came to embody glamour, political idealism and untimely death. The Kennedy mystique — some call it the Kennedy myth — has held the imagination of the world for decades, and it came to rest on the sometimes too-narrow shoulders of the brother known as Teddy.
Mr. Kennedy, who served 46 years as the most well-known Democrat in the Senate, longer than all but two other senators, was the only one of those brothers to reach old age. President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were felled by assassins’ bullets in their 40s. The eldest brother, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., died in 1944 at the age of 29 while on a risky World War II bombing mission.
Mr. Kennedy spent much of the last year in treatment and recuperation, broken by occasional public appearances and a dramatic return to the Capitol last summer to cast a decisive vote on a Medicare bill.
He electrified the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August with an unscheduled appearance and a speech that had delegates on their feet. Many were in tears.
His gait was halting, but his voice was strong. “My fellow Democrats, my fellow Americans, it is so wonderful to be here, and nothing is going to keep me away from this special gathering tonight,” Mr. Kennedy said. “I have come here tonight to stand with you to change America, to restore its future, to rise to our best ideals and to elect Barack Obama president of the United States.”
Senator Kennedy was at or near the center of much of American history in the latter part of the 20th century and the early years of the 21st. For much of his adult life, he veered from victory to catastrophe, winning every Senate election he entered but failing in his only bid for the presidency; living through the sudden deaths of his brothers and three of his nephews; being responsible for the drowning death on Chappaquiddick Island of a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, a former aide to his brother Robert. One of the nephews, John F. Kennedy Jr., who the family hoped would one day seek political office and keep the Kennedy tradition alive, died in a plane crash in 1999 at age 38.
Mr. Kennedy himself was almost killed in 1964, in a plane crash that left him with permanent back and neck problems.
He was a Rabelaisian figure in the Senate and in life, instantly recognizable by his shock of white hair, his florid, oversize face, his booming Boston brogue, his powerful but pained stride. He was a celebrity, sometimes a self-parody, a hearty friend, an implacable foe, a man of large faith and large flaws, a melancholy character who persevered, drank deeply and sang loudly. He was a Kennedy.
Senator Robert C. Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia, one of the institution’s most devoted students, said of his longtime colleague, “Ted Kennedy would have been a leader, an outstanding senator, at any period in the nation’s history.”
Mr. Byrd is one of only two senators to have served longer in the chamber than Mr. Kennedy; the other was Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. In May 2008, on learning of Mr. Kennedy’s diagnosis of a lethal brain tumor, Mr. Byrd wept openly on the floor of the Senate.
More Than a Legislator
Born to one of the wealthiest American families, Mr. Kennedy spoke for the downtrodden in his public life while living the heedless private life of a playboy and a rake for many of his years. Dismissed early in his career as a lightweight and an unworthy successor to his revered brothers, he grew in stature over time by sheer longevity and by hewing to liberal principles while often crossing the partisan aisle to enact legislation. A man of unbridled appetites at times, he nevertheless brought a discipline to his public work that resulted in an impressive catalog of legislative achievement across a broad landscape of social policy.
Read the rest of the story here  
He never gave up the fight, for the poor, the disadvantaged, the homeless, the forgotten, the neglected.
He stood for those whose voices were ignored, or worse……silenced.
He worked with those who bitterly opposed him on many policies, programs, and congressional bills—-many of those in the end who could not help but have respect for the Lion of the Senate.
Senater Edward Moore Kennedy (1932-2009) is now gone from us.
May he rest in peace.
Farewell, Sen. Kennedy.
Thank you for showing grace under pressure.
Farewell, Sen. Kennedy.
You were more than one-of-a-kind. You set the standard on standing your ground in the fight for millions of American’s rights, and America is a better place because of your endeavors.
Published: August 28, 2009
Doris Brin Walker, a radical lawyer who pursued her goal of keeping “the road clear of legal roadblocks” for revolutionaries by helping to defend Angela Davis against murder and kidnapping charges in the 1970s, died on Aug. 13 in San Francisco. She was 90.
Associated Press

Doris Walker with her client Angela Davis on May 25, 1972.



The cause was a stroke, Dan Feldman, her son-in-law, said.
Ms. Walker was a principal defense lawyer when Ms. Davis was tried in 1972 on charges of helping to kill a California judge. A jury acquitted her.
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a professor at Harvard Law School, said in a seminar in 2005 that the defense team had broken ground in using consultants during jury selection.
Ms. Walker also represented John W. Powell, a journalist who had been charged with sedition after asserting in print that the United States had used biological weapons in the Korean War. A mistrial resulted, after which the government added the more serious charge of treason. But it could not produce two eyewitnesses to the same overt act, a legal requirement in proving treason.
“The reason they don’t have the witnesses is that they just never existed,” Ms. Walker was quoted as saying by The New York Times. “The reason is that they have committed no crime. It’s that simple.”
A United States commissioner, the forerunner of today’s federal magistrate, ordered the treason charges dropped in 1959. Two years later, the government dropped the sedition counts.
Doris Lorraine Brin was born in Dallas on April 29, 1919, and attended the University of Texas before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she joined the Communist Party and earned a degree in English. She was the only woman enrolled as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, from which she graduated in 1942.
After being fired from a law firm in 1946, she was fired by a succession of canneries for union organizing. She joined Cutter Laboratories in San Francisco, makers of antibiotics and serums.
Cutter fired her, in part, for being a Communist, but a unit of the National Labor Relations Board and a California state court ordered her reinstatement. In 1955, the California Supreme Court reversed the lower court, holding that Communists would be presumed to be dedicated to the practice of sabotage.
The United States Supreme Court upheld the California high court, on the narrow ground that the issue was not a federal matter. Justice William O. Douglas, in a dissent, addressed a broader issue. “Belief cannot be penalized consistently with the First Amendment,” Justice Douglas said.
In 1957, Ms. Walker helped represent 14 Californians at a trial in which they were convicted under the Smith Act of advocating the violent overthrow of the federal government. The United States Supreme Court reversed their conviction, ruling that for the Smith Act to have been violated, a person must have advocated for a specific seditious action and not just held seditious beliefs.
In 1970, Ms. Walker was elected president of the National Lawyers Guild, an organization founded in 1937 to counter the American Bar Association’s opposition to New Deal initiatives. Membership had fallen in the 1950s after the House Un-American Activities Committee called the group the “foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party.”
The guild bounced back during Ms. Walker’s year-and-a-half term as a new generation of lawyers joined, many of them opposed to the Vietnam War and holding countercultural views. Even so, as the first woman to hold the president’s post, Ms. Walker had to overcome opposition by some women in the ranks who called her “a man in a woman’s skirt.”
In an interview with The St. Petersburg Times in 2008, Ms. Walker said she “must be the oldest living Communist Party member of my generation.” One of the first things she did after joining the party in the early 1940s was to invite the writer Jessica Mitford and Ms. Mitford’s husband, Robert Treuhaft (later Ms. Walker’s law partner), to enroll.
“We wondered when you were going to ask us,” Ms. Mitford replied, as she recounted the episode in “A Fine Old Conflict,” a memoir.
Ms. Walker contended in interviews that she had been a Communist continuously since at least 1942. But in May 1956, The New York Times printed a correction to an article the day before that had identified Ms. Walker as a Communist. In the correction, she said she was not a Communist “at present.”
Ms. Walker’s first marriage, to Henry Marasse, ended in divorce. She then married George Walker, whose name she used for professional purposes. Her third husband was Mason Roberson, to whom she was married for 25 years until his death in 1977.
Ms. Walker is survived by her daughter, Emily Brin Roberson; her sister, Jean Zembrosky; and a granddaughter.
Published: August 26, 2009
Dominick Dunne, who gave up producing movies in midlife and reinvented himself as a best-selling author, magazine writer, television personality and reporter whose celebrity often outshone that of his subjects, died Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 83.
August 27, 2009    

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Dominick Dunne at his home in Manhattan in 2002.


 The Takeaway With David Carr
August 27, 2009    

Pool Photo by Isaac Brekken

Mr. Dunne sits near O. J. Simpson at Mr. Simpson’s 2008 trial in Las Vegas. He also reported on Mr. Simpson’s murder trial.



The cause was bladder cancer, a family spokesman said. The spokesman had initially declined to confirm the death, saying the family had hoped to wait a day before making an announcement so that Mr. Dunne’s obituary would not be obscured by the coverage of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s death.
In the past year Mr. Dunne traveled to the Dominican Republic and Germany for experimental stem-cell treatments to fight his cancer, at one point writing that he and the actress Farrah Fawcett, who died in June, were in the same Bavarian clinic.
He sprang to national prominence with his best-selling novels “The Two Mrs. Grenvilles” in 1985 and “An Inconvenient Woman” in 1990, both focused on murders in the upper realms of society. He later chronicled high-profile criminal trials and high society as a correspondent and columnist for Vanity Fair magazine.
He achieved perhaps his widest fame from his reporting of the O. J. Simpson murder trial in 1994 and 1995 and later as the host of the program “Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice,” on what was then Court TV (now TruTV).
Last year, as a postscript to his Simpson coverage, Mr. Dunne defied his doctor’s orders and flew to Las Vegas to attend Mr. Simpson’s kidnapping and robbery trial.
Mr. Dunne’s magazine career was weighted toward the coverage of sensational murder trials. He made no secret of the fact that his sympathy generally lay with the victim, and he was vocal about what he considered the misapplication of justice.
Sympathetic Stance
He never hesitated to admit that his sympathetic stance stemmed from the murder of his daughter, Dominique, by John Sweeney, her ex-boyfriend, in 1982. Ms. Dunne, a 22-year-old actress, was found strangled, and Mr. Sweeney, who was found guilty only of voluntary manslaughter and a misdemeanor for an earlier assault, served less than three years.
“I’m sick of being asked to weep for killers,” Mr. Dunne often said. “We’ve lost our sense of outrage.”
During the trial, Tina Brown, who was the editor of Vanity Fair at the time, suggested he keep a journal. The account, “Justice: A Father’s Account of the Trial of His Daughter’s Killer,” was published in Vanity Fair in 1984.
“He never pretended to be objective in covering trials,” Graydon Carter, the current editor of Vanity Fair, said Wednesday. “He was always writing from the point of view of the victim because of what happened to his daughter, and he had a riveting way of knowing, almost like Balzac, what to tell the reader when.”
Mr. Dunne went on to cover the trials of Claus von Bulow, Michael C. Skakel, William Kennedy Smith, Erik and Lyle Menendez, and Phil Spector, as well as the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
“I realized the power writing has, and it has also helped me deal with my rage,” he said in an interview with The New York Times for this obituary in 2000. “It gave me a lifelong commitment not to be afraid to speak out about injustice.”
Mr. Dunne’s brother was the writer John Gregory Dunne, the husband of the writer Joan Didion. He died in 2003.
High-Profile Clashes
Mr. Dunne’s speaking out led to a lawsuit for slander filed by Gary Condit, a Democratic congressman from California, over remarks Mr. Dunne had made on national radio and television in 2001. Mr. Condit had been scheduled to testify in a deposition about his relationship with Chandra Levy, a federal government intern who disappeared in May 2001 and whose body was found in a Washington park in 2002.
Mr. Dunne quoted a man who asserted that he had heard that Mr. Condit had talked about his relationship with a woman whom he had described as a clinger. Mr. Dunne said this had created an environment that led to Ms. Levy’s disappearance. Mr. Condit’s suit, originally seeking $11 million in damages, was settled for an undisclosed sum and an apology. A later suit by Mr. Condit was dismissed.
Mr. Dunne also clashed with the Kennedy family about his involvement in the 2002 trial of Mr. Skakel, a first cousin of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Mr. Skakel was sentenced to 20 years to life in the murder of Martha Moxley in 1975. Her body was found beneath a tree on her parents’ property in Greenwich, Conn.
In 2003, in a 14,000-word article in The Atlantic Monthly arguing that the case against his cousin was flawed and had left reasonable doubt, Mr. Kennedy accused Mr. Dunne of intimidating prosecutors and helping to drive the news media into “a frenzy to lynch the fat kid.”
Mr. Dunne said in The Times interview that he had also been a source of information for a book that Mark Fuhrman was writing about the Skakel trial. He had met him when Mr. Fuhrman testified during the O. J. Simpson murder trial. “I had some hot information about Skakel,” Mr. Dunne said, “and I knew Fuhrman would bring it to attention.”
Mr. Dunne, known as Nick to his friends, was a ubiquitous figure in both American and European society. He attributed his success to his being a good listener. “Listening is an underrated skill,” he said in discussing his interviews with political figures and celebrities like Imelda Marcos, Elizabeth Taylor, Diane Keaton and Mr. von Bulow.
At Michael’s restaurant in Manhattan, a favorite gathering spot of the news media elite, Mr. Dunne could often be found at his regular corner table receiving admirers. Even as his health declined, he would show up in his trademark round glasses and a Turnbull & Asser shirt, with the proper white collar and large blue stripes.
With his appetite for gossip, a short stop at his table would usually yield some nugget.
And the story would almost always start with, “Do you know what I heard?” and end with “Can you believe that!”  


 The Takeaway With David Carr

‘A Rotten Athlete’
Born in Hartford, Dominick John Dunne was one of six children of a fourth-generation Irish-Catholic family. His father, Richard, was a heart surgeon, and although the family was well-off, his childhood was not happy.
“I was a rotten athlete, I liked puppet shows and I was kind of a sissy,” he recalled in The Times interview. “Something about me drove my father crazy. He mocked me and often beat me with a wooden coat hanger, and although we belonged to WASP clubs, we were never a part of things. We were like minor-league Kennedys.”
Drafted into the Army during his senior year in high school, Mr. Dunne fought in the Battle of the Bulge and won both his father’s admiration and a Bronze Star for crawling past Nazi sentries and carrying back a wounded soldier. After his Army service, he attended Williams College, where he and a group that included Stephen Sondheim started a theater.
After graduating in 1949, he moved to New York, where he became stage manager for television shows and later an assistant to the producer of “Playhouse 90.” In 1954 he married Ellen Griffin, who was known as Lenny and with whom he had two sons, Griffin and Alexander, in addition to Dominique.
By 1957 he was in Santa Monica, Calif.; a year later he was producing at 20th Century Fox and living in Beverly Hills. By the 1970s he was a vice president of Four Star Television and produced “The Boys in the Band,” “Panic in Needle Park” and other films.
Dominick and Lenny Dunne became famous in the industry for their parties, the most memorable of which was a black and white ball, held in 1964 to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The guests included Nancy and Ronald Reagan and Truman Capote, who two years later used the idea for his own ball of the same name, at the Plaza Hotel in New York, a renowned event to which the Dunnes were not invited.
“My jobs never qualified me for the strata of Hollywood we moved in,” he recalled. “I always kept scrap books and saved everything. On some level, I knew it was not going to last.”
It didn’t. Devastated when his wife asked for a divorce — “She was the real thing, and I became a fake,” he said — he declined into “a hopeless alcoholic,” he admitted, and started to use cocaine. Returning from Mexico, he was arrested for drug possession at the airport in Los Angeles.
But his drinking continued, and though none of his films were box-office smashes, the denouement came in 1973 with the widely panned “Ash Wednesday,” a picture he produced starring Ms. Taylor. Compounding that failure was the publication in a trade newspaper of a joke he told, while he was drinking, about a Hollywood power broker.
“I kind of knew it was going to be my swan song,” he said of the remark. He became a nonperson in the industry.
At one point he sold all his possessions including, for $300, his dog, a West Highland
terrier. He went on unemployment, all the while terrified that his friends would see him in the line.
In 1979, approaching his mid 50s, he left Los Angeles. “I got into the car and didn’t know where I was headed,” he said in an interview. “I drove north, stopped for a flat tire in Oregon and stayed there in a one-room cabin for six months.” There he started to write for the first time. The book was a novel of Hollywood, “The Winners.”
A New Chapter
He moved to New York in 1981. Reviews of “The Winners” were scathing, but his editor, Michael Korda, advised him to go in another direction.
“He told me there was nothing people liked more than reading about the rich and powerful in criminal situations,” Mr. Dunne said. “It was, like, ‘Boing’ in my head, and I made a genre out of the thing. I wrote ‘The Two Mrs. Grenvilles,’ about a social family whose son married a showgirl who was then accused of murdering him. Two million copies were sold and that book utterly changed my life.”
Other books followed, among them “People Like Us”; “A Season in Purgatory,” based on a rich Catholic family and murder; and “An Inconvenient Woman,” about a social couple and the murder of the husband’s mistress.
In 1999 he published a memoir, “The Way We Lived Then, Recollections of a Well-Known Name Dropper,” studded with photographs of the famous.
His increasing prominence as a reporter, writer, author and television personality made him a staple at fashionable dinner parties and social events.
“All the people who dumped me years before were now giving dinner parties for me,” he said during Mr. Simpson’s trial. “And I went.”
Although he had been divorced for two decades, he remained devoted to his ex-wife, who learned she had multiple sclerosis in 1972, until her death in 1997. He is survived by his sons Griffin, an actor and director of New York, and Alexander of Portland, Ore.; and a granddaughter, Hannah Dunne.
In 2000, Mr. Dunne was found to have prostate cancer. Six years later he was being treated in a hospital when, he said, he decided to leave. Disconnecting himself from the medical instruments attached to him, he walked out and took a taxi home.
“It caused a lot of commotion at the hospital,” he said. “But I was convinced I was going to die, and the room was not the right setting for my death scene.
“I stayed home for five days and did everything the doctor told me to do,” he added, “and a week later I flew to Europe.”
Published: August 25, 2009
John E. Carter, whose soaring falsetto was an instantly recognizable signature on hit records by the seminal doo-wop groups the Flamingos and the Dells, died on Friday in Harvey, Ill. He was 75 and lived in Park Forest, Ill.
Evan Agostini/Getty Images

John E. Carter

The cause was lung cancer, family members told The Chicago Tribune.
Mr. Carter, known as Johnny, was a founding member of the Flamingos and later sang for nearly half a century with the Dells, adding his pure, almost ethereal top notes to songs now regarded as doo-wop and rhythm and blues classics.
Some were national hits, while others achieved belated recognition by doo-wop connoisseurs. They included “Golden Teardrops” and “I’ll Be Home” with the Flamingos and, with the Dells, “Stay in My Corner,” “There Is” and the 1969 reissue of the 1956 hit, “Oh, What a Night.”
“When he sang lead, which was not all that often, it was a nice voice,” said Marv Goldberg, who documents the history of doo-wop groups on his Web site, “But when he did high tenor backup, it was simply amazing.”
Mr. Carter grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where he sang in the choir of a neighborhood church. Around 1950, he and several fellow choir members, calling themselves the Swallows, began singing on street corners and front steps in the close-harmony style that would later be called doo-wop, after one of the typical nonsense syllables used as rhythmic filler.
The Flamingos, who adopted their name when another group called the Swallows began climbing the charts, developed a smooth, expertly blended harmonic style that lent itself to slow ballads. After signing with the Chance label in 1953, they scored local hits with the singles “If I Can’t Have You” and “That’s My Desire” before recording “Golden Teardrops,” a record widely regarded as one of the supreme achievements of the doo-wop era, although it failed to make the national charts.
The song, a slow ballad with intricate harmonies, features Mr. Carter’s haunting falsetto floating over the melody like a voice from another world. In a 1992 interview, Sollie McElroy, the lead singer, compared the slow process of developing the song to putting together a puzzle. “We rehearsed a long time on that song,” he said. “In fact we were almost ready to give it up. We couldn’t get it like we wanted to. And Johnny started bringing in that tenor and it started fitting in.”
After signing with Chess Records in 1955, Mr. Carter and the Flamingos recorded “I’ll Be Home” for the company’s Checker label. It reached No. 5 on the rhythm and blues charts but failed to achieve crossover success when Pat Boone recorded his hit version of the song. Three other songs for Checker, with Nate Nelson singing lead, have come to be regarded as doo-wop high-water marks: “A Kiss from Your Lips,” “The Vow,” and “Would I Be Crying.”
In 1956, Mr. Carter was drafted into the Army. After serving as a cook in Germany, he returned to Chicago to find that he had been replaced as a Flamingo. He did not get the chance to sing on the Flamingos hits “Lovers Never Say Goodbye” and “I Only Have Eyes for You,” but he did appear with them in the Alan Freed film “Rock, Rock, Rock!” (1956) singing “Would I Be Crying.”
In 1960 Mr. Carter joined the Dells, another Chicago-area group known for its close-knit harmonies. Over the years the Dells made the transition from doo-wop to rhythm and blues, keeping their personnel intact. The up-tempo “There Is” (1968) was a solid hit for the group, and “Stay in My Corner” (1968), with Mr. Carter sharing lead vocals with Marvin Junior, reached the top of the rhythm and blues charts.
The group’s rerecording of “Oh, What a Night,” this time as a soul song with Mr. Carter’s ringing soprano on top, reached the Top 10 on the pop charts, No. 1. on the rhythm and blues charts and sold more than a million copies.
After recording the hits “The Love We Had (Stays on My Mind)” (1971) and “Give Your Baby a Standing Ovation” (1973), the Dells settled into a decades-long schedule of touring that lasted until 2008.
The Dells served as consultants for the 1991 film “The Five Heartbeats,” which was loosely based on their story. “A Heart Is a House for Love,” recorded for the film, became a minor hit. In 2000 they recorded the album “Reminiscing.”
Mr. Carter is survived by five daughters, Jewel Carter, Ouida Carter, Tamla Harper, Kenyatta Davis and Thela Davis, and five grandchildren, The Tribune reported.
The Flamingos, of whom Mr. Carter was the last surviving member, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Dells followed in 2004.
Published: August 25, 2009
Ernest Brown, the last surviving and most diminutive member of the Original Copasetics, an ensemble of tap-dancing stars formed in 1949 that helped to revive the art of tap, died on Friday in Chicago. He was 93 and lived in Chicago.
Debi Field

Ernest Brown

His death was confirmed by Reginald McLaughlin, a tap protégé known as Regio the Hoofer, with whom Mr. Brown performed for 16 years.
The Original Copasetics was a fraternity of vividly individual tap dancers, each with his own casually authoritative style and specialty. Its shows throbbed with the street-corner improvisation at the heart of American tap dance and hinted at the revues and film musicals through which tap and the dancers had gained new audiences.
Formed on the death of Bill Bojangles Robinson, the international tap star, the group took its name from Robinson’s familiar observation that “everything is copasetic,” or perfect.
The group was formed in part as a survival mechanism for its dancers and for the art of tap, regrouping often as the years (and “tap revivals”) went by. The groups played a crucial role in the tap boom of the 1970s and ’80s.
The first Copasetics group included the composer and arranger Billy Strayhorn and the choreographer Cholly Atkins. But its focus was dancers. Its founding members also included stars like Honi Coles and Charles Cookie Cook, with whom Mr. Brown performed into the 1960s as half of the long-lived Cook and Brown comedic tap vaudeville duo. (The partners also performed together in other acts, including one called “Garbage and His Two Cans,” in which they played the cans.)
The Copasetic shows not only brought new acclaim to the old-time tap stars but also featured young dancers to whom those stars were mentors, following one of tap’s long traditions. That relationship and the tap boom years are reflected in Gregory Hines’s 1989 film “Tap,” a loving homage to veteran and new tappers. They were celebrated, too, in the Broadway revue “Black and Blue,” also in 1989.
But there was nothing quite like the Copasetic shows. Presented often in small, funky theater spaces, they featured a diverse range of tap stylists who would saunter, skid and explode in fusillades of articulated footwork and rhythms across a stage. There was the dreaming lope of Chuck Green, for instance, or the skimming flight of Jimmy Slyde and the flinty rhythmic exercises of Howard Sandman Sims.
And then there was Mr. Brown, known universally simply as Brownie. About 4 feet 8 inches tall, with an innocently joyous air and ease, he had more than a little Jiminy Crickett in him, though he did not hesitate to press loud and strong when he thought he and other dancers were being cheated.
In a revealing clip from “Cow Cow Boogie,” a 1942 Dorothy Dandridge “soundie,” the 1940’s equivalent of the music video, Mr. Brown is seen in his typical guise of a sweet-natured little second banana to the dapper Mr. Cook. (Mr. Cook died in 1991.)
Mr. Brown’s footwork is less flashy than Mr. Cook’s, but those short legs work with surprisingly lanky-looking expertise, and his timing is deft in a small, quick-passing moment when Mr. Cook cups Mr. Brown’s plump face in his hand. Mr. Brown’s exit may be childlike, his bent body following in the slipstream of Mr. Cook’s dancing, but it is not childish. What stood out about Mr. Brown’s performing was more unforgettable presence than style.
“He had an amazing sense of ‘entitlement’ in a good way,” Jane Goldberg, the tap performer and historian, wrote in an e-mail message on Monday. “He always felt he belonged on the stage, shaking his shoulders in that jazzy, goofy move he was known for, even while Honi Coles was cutting Gregory Hines in a tap battle, or other of the greats were there. I don’t think Brownie was tap as much as jazz, and he had a wonderful feeling for jazz.”
Mr. Brown began to perform professionally as a child. His career, of more than 80 years, included headlining at the Roxie, Radio City Music Hall and the Cotton Club in New York, the Palladium in London and the Latin Casino in Paris in the 1930’s and 40’s.
Cook and Brown also danced on Broadway in the musical “Kiss Me Kate” (1948) and performed twice at the Newport Jazz Festival in the 1960’s.
In later years, with a decline in the popularity of tap acts, Mr. Brown earned a living as a bank security guard. But he eventually returned to Chicago, where he formed an act with Mr. McLaughlin. Mr. Brown’s last performance was with Mr. McLaughlin in the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap City festival last year in New York City. The two may also be seen in the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s tap documentary, “JUBA — Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance,” which was nominated for an Emmy.
Among the honors bestowed on Mr. Brown in recent years was the American Tap Dance Foundation’s 2004 Hoofer Award.
Mr. Brown is survived by his daughter, Barbara Jenkins, of Chicago, and four grandchildren.
Published: August 26, 2009
Ellie Greenwich, a songwriter who collaborated with Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and others to create a greatest-hits list of 1960s teenage pop songs like “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me,” “Hanky Panky” and “Leader of the Pack,” died on Wednesday in Manhattan. She was 68.
August 28, 2009    
William E. Sauro/The New York Times

Ellie Greenwich in 1984, at the Bottom Line in New York.

Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

Ellie Greenwich, left, with Pete Norman in 2003.



The cause was a heart attack following a case of pneumonia, her niece, Jessica Weiner, said.
Ms. Greenwich was among the songwriters, music publishers and producers working at the Brill Building, at 1619 Broadway in Manhattan, which (along with 1650 Broadway, across the street) became a center of pop music in the early 1960s.
The buildings were home to the songwriting teams of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and Carole King and Gerry Goffin, among many others, and from their offices and studios came a flood of teenage anthems, story songs and achy love songs fraught with the hormonal angst of the young.
For a time Ms. Greenwich and Mr. Barry, who was then her husband, were the most successful of the teams, especially when they wrote for the girl groups the Crystals, the Dixie Cups, the Shangri-Las and others.
In 1964 alone, 17 singles by Ms. Greenwich and Mr. Barry landed on the pop charts, according to “Always Magic in the Air,” a 2005 book by Ken Emerson about the Brill Building days. They included “Chapel of Love,” a No. 1 for the Dixie Cups, and “Do Wah Diddy Diddy,” which became a No. 1 for Manfred Mann.
Ms. Greenwich and Mr. Barry also wrote “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “River Deep — Mountain High” (all with Mr. Spector). They were also singers, recording their own songs and those of others as the Raindrops.
Perhaps their most famous song was “Leader of the Pack,” which Ms. Greenwich and Mr. Barry wrote with the producer Shadow Morton. His previous hit, for the Shangri-Las, was the idiosyncratic “Remember (Walking in the Sand),” a song about a girl’s heartbreak that included sound effects and spoken words.
“Leader of the Pack” made use of similar tools, creating what Mr. Barry called “a movie for the ear.” Telling a soap-opera-like story of a girl who is in love with a biker but forbidden by her parents to see him, it ends with the biker’s death as he speeds away from her after their breakup and crashes. The music is melodramatic — “I met him at the candy store” was its signature wail — and woven into it are the sounds of a revving motorcycle, the fatal crash and the cooing, speaking voices of the girl’s friends.
“Leader of the Pack” was a No.1 hit for the Shangri-Las in 1964, and it became emblematic enough to be lampooned almost immediately by a band calling itself the Detergents, which recorded a song called “Leader of the Laundromat.”
“Leader of the Pack” also became the title of a stage show, a theatrical collage of songs by Ms. Greenwich and others that made it to Broadway in 1985.
Eleanor Louise Greenwich was born in Brooklyn on Oct. 23, 1940. When she was 11 her father, William, an electrical engineer, and mother, Rose, a medical secretary, moved the family to Levittown, on Long Island. She attended Queens College and graduated from Hofstra University, but her planned career as a teacher ended after only a few months when it became evident that she would rather write songs than stand in front of a class.
She got her break in 1962, when she showed up for an appointment at Trio Music, the company started by Mr. Leiber and Mr. Stoller, in the Brill Building. Mr. Leiber offered her a chance to use the company’s resources in exchange for the right of first refusal to publish her songs.
She met Mr. Spector at Trio as well. He produced some of her early songs, written with Tony Powers, like “Why Do Lovers Break Each Other’s Heart?,” for Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, and “Today I Met the Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” for Darlene Love.
Ms. Greenwich was also an arranger and producer, and she is generally given credit for discovering Neil Diamond. She co-produced Mr. Diamond’s early hits, including “Cherry, Cherry” and “Kentucky Woman.”
“Ellie Greenwich was one of the most important people in my career,” Mr. Diamond said in a statement on Wednesday. “She discovered me as a down-and-out songwriter.”
Ms. Greenwich’s marriage to Mr. Barry ended in divorce. She is survived by a sister, Laura Weiner of Greenlawn, N.Y.


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August 27, 2009 ColorLines Direct. News and commentary from ColorLines magazine and RaceWire blog.


Protest, Tweet, Raid Savings What students of color are doing to stay in college during the recession.



Racism’s Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated: Rinku Sen at Netroots Nation ’09 [VIDEO]
Speaking on the “Myth of Post-Racial America” at Netroots, Rinku argues we in the movement need to realize that the average person thinks of racism as always ‘individual, intentional, and explicit’ which precludes acknowledgement of and action against systemic racism.

In Healthcare Debate, Dispelling the Myth of Real Change
President Obama is working hard to dispel popular myths about healthcare reform. Chief among them is the crackpot idea that universal health care actually means health care for everyone.

Caption Contest: What Makes President Obama Laugh?
Thanks to last week’s winner. RaceWire is holding another caption contest. If you submit the epic caption and win, we’ll send you a copy of Tram Nguyen’s Language Is a Place of Struggle: Great Quotes by People of Color.

APIs Wanna Know: How Much Longer Can We Wait for Immigration Reform?

With the launch of the National Asian American Week of Action, a diverse cross-section of AAPI community leaders came together from across the nation to call for immigration reform.

Sexposed: Olympic Double Standards for Black Women
When a white man excels beyond expectation it’s a natural phenomenon but when a black woman does the same she must be a man?

30% Unemployment, Pre-Recession: Immigrant Communities Need Real Recovery [VIDEO]

Community organizer Shaw San Liu of San Francisco’s Chinese Progressive Association explains what the inequitable economy means for her community — before, during and after the officially recognized recovery.

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Poindexter Guilty On 8 Charges; Walker Guilty On 11 Charges

POSTED: 3:12 pm EDT August 28, 2009
UPDATED: 5:39 pm EDT August 28, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A verdict has been reached for two defendants in the gang-rape of a woman and her child at Dunbar Village in 2007.


Tommy Lee Poindexter, now 20, was found guilty Friday on eight of the 13 charges against him. They include sexual battery, burglary and kidnapping.


Shortly thereafter, Nathan Walker, now 18, was found guilty on 11 of the 14 counts. They include sexual battery, burglary, kidnapping and grand theft auto.





Nathan Walker and Tommy Lee Poindexter are the first two defendants in the Dunbar Village gang-rape trial.


Police said Poindexter and Walker raped and sodomized the mother, forced her and her son to have sex with each other and then doused the two victims with cleaning solutions in an attempt to destroy DNA evidence.


The youngest defendant, Avion Lawson, pleaded guilty earlier this month and testified against the other two during their trial.


Lawson, who was 14 at the time of the attack, took the stand and said he wasn’t in the “right state of mind” when he participated in the crime. He also called Poindexter the ringleader.


The mother also took the stand and described the graphic details of that day.


Walker and Poindexter were tried together, but each had a separate jury.


Closing arguments for Poindexter concluded Thursday afternoon, while closing arguments for Walker concluded Friday.


A fourth defendant, Jakaris Taylor, 17, will stand trial in September. They could all be sentenced up to life in prison.


Poindexter is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 13.























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Four Matriarchs of Natural Hair Care & Consciousness @ Happily Natural Day

Malaika Tamu Cooper of The Baltimore Natural Haircare Expo


Malaika – Tamu Cooper is the owner operator of Dreadz N` Headz natural hair care center located in Baltimore Maryland. She was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland where she the pioneer of natural hair care affectionately known as the “Loc Mama”. For she has taught and empowered several women to open there own salons. She is the National Golden scissors award winner for natural hair care stylist of the year in years 2002, 2003, and 2004. Malaika’s is the founder of the Baltimore Natural Hair Care Holistic Beauty and Wearable Art tradeshow and expose as well as Baltimore Happy Nappy day event coordinator. Her ongoing involvement in International educational sessions, as well as fashion shows, and editorial hairstyling keeps her an in-demand stylist and instructor. Malaika is dedicated to the evolution of the craft of natural hair care. She feels it is her ministry. She is consistently requested and recognized by the host of Radio one broadcasting institute in Maryland as one of the highest volume vendors and speakers. She has lectured many times at one of Maryland’s largest African American expositions of local merchants called “The Peoples Expo.” She is constantly called up to be the key note speaker for empowering women’s conferences across the country. Her clientele includes Arista’s recording artist Wyclef Jean, local artist, congressmen and city council executives. She has also reached judge status and has judges 90% of the natural hair care events across the country. She has traveled nationally and internationally to locations including Europe, Africa and the ! Caribbean spreading her knowledge of natural hair care and empowering self. She is dedicated to learning and teaching innovative techniques for natural hair care. Her guide to Hair Locking 101 will be published June 2007. Malaika has over 16 years of professional natural hair care consistent experience. She has developed several natural hair care techniques to help sistah’s and brotha’s nurture and restore their hair to its natural state. She has even held workshops called Hair locking 101 as well as Caring for your natural hair and Wash and Wear Hair. She has a clientele base of over 4000 loyal people. And is steadily growing every day…

Presentation Topic: Locktology 101 -The Art of Hair Locking



Mama Akosua of the International Locks Conference


Dr. Akosua Ali-Sabree, affectionately called Mama Akosua is the director of the Amadi Wellness Connection (AWC) and founder of the Amadi Universal Light Mission (AULM). Mama Akosua is also a talk radio host on the Harambee Radio Network and program director of the Annual International Locks Conference: Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Expo Dr. Ali-Sabree has been a wholistic health and wellness practitioner for over 38 years. She revels in her capacities as wife, mother, active grandmother, CEO, mentor, professional registered nurse, certified clinical wholistic hypnocounsellor, wellness coach, NLPt master practitioner, stress management trainer, registered behavior therapist, network marketing trainer, Naturopath student, intuitive writer, published author, urban generalist, and an ordained minister with a doctorate in divinity. She is known for the calming and powerful way she uses everyday conversation to provide spiritual and transformational counselling.  Mama Akosua is also the co-founder of Ujima Press Real Communication Her published works include We Surrender: A Collection of Inspirational Poems & Lyrical Verse, Hair Piecez: The Anthology, and soon to be released: Emancipating Your Spirit: A Conscious Guidebook: Affirmations, Meditation, Liberty & Other Soulful Reflections

Presentation Topic: Protecting Our Heritage w/ Sakinah Sabree



Sakinah Sabree of the International Locks Conference


Sakinah Ali-Sabree, a guidance counselor, life skills counselor, behavior therapist, radio show host and producer, and dancer, is the executive director of Sankofa Consulting Group {SCG}. She is also a talk radio host on the Harambee Radio Network and operations manager of the Annual International Locks Conference:  In collaboration with her mother, Sakinah Ali-Sabree published her first book entitled We Surrender: A Collection of Inspirational Poems and Lyrical Verse. Above and beyond her counselling and writing, Sakinah Ali-Sabree’s live performances are filled with soothing rhythms and punctuated with exciting and thought provoking rhymes.

Presentation Topic: Protecting Our Heritage w/ Mama Akosua Sabree

Renee Prophet of Naturalcentric Hair Salon

Renee Prophet is the owner of Naturalcentric and is a licensed barber with eight years of professional experience. Her clients have been featured in Braid World International, and Braids Porfolio Invitational. Naturalcentric clients know the power of the words we choose to describe our hair, so we speak about our hair in uplifting ways. We prefer to call our hair kinky or tightly curled instead of “nappy” and locs or african locs, instead of “dreadlocs”. One of her most important goals is to demonstrate to each client through their own hair how beautiful black is. With this concept, she honors our ancestry and pay homage to our Creator through hairstyles that keep the original texture in tact. She believes in nature’s perfect spiral seen in strands of DNA, the rotation of the earth, and in tightly curled hair. She also believes in the concept that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, so we don’t need to put chemicals or extensions in our hair to make it look good

 Presentation Topic: Going Natural: Locking Hair; Unlocking Culture



Happily Natural Day is grassroots festival dedicated to holistic health, cultural awareness and social change. The festival promotes pride in being of African descent because for over 400 years Africans all over the globe were taught by the western educational system that African people were savages. Happily Natural Day has now reached it’s 7th consecutive year in Richmond Virginia – the former capital of the confederacy. Join us on Saturday August 29th at 2022 Sledd Street Richmond VA 23220 from 11am to 8pm for food, live music, an African vendor marketplace, workshops and children’s activities all dedicated to instilling pride in people of African descent. Feature presentations include Malaika Tamu Cooper of the Baltimore Natural Haircare Expo, Akosua and Sakinah Sabree of the International Locks Conference, Queen Quet – official spokesperson of the Gullah/Geechie Nation, Dr. Uhuru Hotep; author of 72 Concepts to Liberate the African Mind, Renee Prophet; owner of Naturalcentric Hair Salon; Kalonji Changa; of FTP Movement and many, many more. This event is free to the public.

Come out to Happily Natural Day on August 29th in Richmond VA and get the cure for your creamy crack addiction!!

For more information on vendor opportunities, performing and sponsorship; visit the official Happily Natural Day website or call 804-306-3256.


Stay blessed,
Happily Natural

The black community needs events like Happily Natural Day because contrary to popular belief; slavery, racism, white supremacy, oppression, prejudice, discrimination, poverty, crime – all have had traumatizing effects on the black community.Happily Natural Day – PO BOX 25694 RICHMOND VA 23260


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#1 R&B Song 1975:   “Rockin’ Chair,” Gwen McCrea


Born:   Renaldo “Obie” Benson (the Four Tops), 1936




1952   The Dominoes were so hot that they were booked at a Washington, DC. auditorium for an afternoon performance and then flew to New Orleans for an evening show.


1961   The Cleftones performed on American Bandstand singing their hit, “Heart & Soul,” while the Flamingos were in Chicago appearing at Robert’s Show Club.


1976   An Evening With Diana Ross began its performance tour at the Palace Theater in New York.


1980   Singer/dancer/actress/pianist Irene Cara earned her first taste of stardom when “Fame” (fromt the film Fame) vaulted onto the Top 100. The #4 smash was the first of her eight hits through 1984.



1980   “The Breaks (Part 1)” by Curtis Blow was issued, eventually reaching #4 R&B and consequently becoming the first rap record certified as a million seller by the RIAA.Blow studied voice at the High School of Music and Art and Communictions at New York City College and began rapping while a deejay in harlem night clubs in 1976. (Here is Curtis performing “The Breaks” on Soul Train in 1980.)



1986   Patti LaBelle, in a duet with Michael McDonald, topped the pop charts with “On My Own.” The song was recorded by each singer in separate studios 3,000 miles apart. In fact, the two did not meet until they performed the song together on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.


1998   B.B. King was honored as the official Ambassador of Music to represent America at the World Expo ’98 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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#1 R&B Song 1987:   “Rock Steady”, the Whispers


Born:   Bobby Freeman (the Romancers)




1953   “Ain’t That Good News” by the Tempo Toppers was released. The group’s lead singer was a new vocalist named Little Richard.


1960   Clyde McPhatter signed with Mercury Records after having recorded for Atlantic Records with the Drifters and been solo for seven years.


1969   Trumpeted as the biggest-ever soul music festival to date, Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Percy Sledge, the Staple Singers, Reverend James Cleveland, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Sister Clara Ward, and more performed at Soul Bowl ’69 at the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.


1970   The Three Degress’ chart debut, “Maybe,” reached #4 R&B and #29 pop. The recording was a remake of the Chantels’ 1958 standard.  (Here are the ladies of the Three Degrees performing “Maybe” live in Belgium, in the early 1990s.)



1972   The Drifters’ original lead singer, Clyde McPhatter died. He was considered by many as one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest voices. Elvis Presley frequently stated that he wished his voice was the equal of Clyde’s.


1981   Almost twenty years after his last appearance, Gary “U.S.” Bonds reached #11 on the pop Top 100 with “This Little Girl,” a song produced for him by Bruce Springsteen and Miami Steve Van Zant. Bonds met Springsteen three years earlier while working at the Red Baron, a New Jersey club. He pulled Springsteen—a long-time fan who frequently performed “Quarter to Three”—onstage out of the audience to sing with him. Springsteen proposed that Bonds and Van Zant work on a comeback album eventually called Dedication, from which “This Little Girl” was pulled as a single. (Here is Gary performing his comeback hit on May 30, 1981, on Soul Train.)



(Visit Gary’s Official Website here.)


1992   Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson’s duet “The Best Things in Life Are Free” peaked at #10 pop and became Janet’s seventh #1 R&B.



2005   Michael Jackson was acquitted of ten counts of child molestation and conspiracy in Santa Barbara, CA, in one of the most highly-publicized trials since the O.J. Simpson murder trial.


2005   Destiny’s Child announced that the group was breaking up. Since their debut in 1997, the trio has reportedly sold more than 40 million records.

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When many people think of interracial relationships/marriages between Blacks and non-Blacks, often the minds of many people conjure up images of Whites and Blacks—never people of other races and ethnicities. But, the following article discusses the relationship between a beautiful young Black woman who is a criminal defense attorny engaged to a handsome Asian, in a sci-fi series that concerns a very important date—-April 29, 2010—-in the lives of many people. Unions between Asians and Blacks are rare, but, they do exist. The series sounds promising, especially any television program that explores a relationship between Blacks and Asians, not to mention the sci-fi angle of the show. Black women and Asian men are rthe most ignored, invisible, and reviled groups of people in film and other media (Black women: “harsh”, “loud”, “ghetto”; “lascivious, and sexually wanton”; Asian men: “asexual”, “effeminant”), and it remains to be seen how their relationship is handled in this series. (And John is definitely eye candy who is very easy on the eyes.)




Gabrielle Union on \<i\>FlashForward\<\/i\>\'s hopeful diversity

Gabrielle Union joined the cast of ABC’s upcoming sci-fi thriller series FlashForward after the pilot and told us that she’ll play a criminal defense attorney engaged to Demetri Noh (John Cho). She said the pairing of her African-American character and Cho’s Asian-American character was deliberate.

“The cultural differences with our families, not only blending families in the middle of a recession but blending families that come from different cultures and races and backgrounds, will definitely be explored,” Union said in an exclusive interview last week in Pasadena, Calif. “And, I love John.”

In the series, based on Robert J. Sawyer’s SF novel, everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes 17 seconds, during which time each person has a glimpse of the future and their lives on a specific date: April 29, 2010. The show’s characters, played by Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger and others, will spend the bulk of the first season figuring out what will come true and whether they can alter the predictions. Union said her scenes with Cho focus on their relationship.

“[I’ve shot] a lot of time with John,” She continued. “We have a really good relationship. I’m so glad that they’re showing two people of color with, like, a really … loving and nurturing relationship. I haven’t really seen that on TV, and certainly not in an interracial relationship, very loving and sweet in a genuine sort of way.” (Major spoilers ahead!)

In the pilot episode, one flash forward saves a character from suicide. Others characters worry that their own futures include a relapse into alcoholism or an end to their marriages. Union’s not telling what she sees.

“It’s life-affirming, that’s for sure,” she teased.

Cho’s character sees nothing in his flash forward, leading him to believe he doesn’t make it to April 29. So far, this has not affected his relationship in early episodes, Union said.

“Well, he has not shared with me his flash forward, so ignorance is bliss at this point,” Union said.

Union came to FlashForward because of her previous relationship with ABC: She starred on the short-lived Night Stalker and guested on Ugly Betty, so the network wanted to get back in the Gabrielle Union business.

“They’ve been incredibly supportive,” Union said. “A lot of people give lip service to ‘We want to increase diversity,’ and then you just never see any people of color. They actually really mean it. If one thing doesn’t work out, they come up with more opportunities. So they’re like, ‘We want you back in the family,’ and by chance, the next day the Goyers [executive producers Jessika Borsiczky Goyer and David Goyer] called them, and they were like, ‘Do you think Gabrielle would ever be interested in returning to television?’ They’re like, ‘Funny you should ask. We just talked to her about this.'”

Since FlashForward has a long-term mythology that the creators are guarding closely, it’s one of those shows where even the actors don’t get information beyond the script they are shooting. That creates a challenging work environment for Union.

“It’s more hard that we are given very limited information, to the point where filming a scene, I think I have all the information I need,” she said. “We do a take, and they’re like, ‘Oh, nobody told her.’ Then they whisper it in your ear, and I’m like, ‘Oh, OK, that changes everything.’ So I’m literally getting information on a need-to-have basis. That’s more challenging. Literally, they tell me on a need-to-know basis.”

FlashForward premieres Sept. 24 on ABC.



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Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison

Updated: 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011 | Posted: 7:48 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011


Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison photo
Judge Krista Marx listened to arguments, then sentenced Walker to 60 years in prison.

Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison photo
Nathan Walker’s mother, Ruby Walker appeared to be praying during the hearing.

Convicted Dunbar Village rapist sentenced to 60 years in prison photo
Nathan Walker, convicted in the savage Dunbar Village rape case, was resentenced today in light of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion saying juveniles can’t be sentenced to life for crimes other than homicide. Walker testified about his time behind bars and his efforts at rehabilitation in the penal system.

By Daphne Duret

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

WEST PALM BEACH – By all accounts, Nathan Walker started out in life with little chance to make it.

Raised in extreme poverty in a violent neighborhood, by the time he was 16 he became one of several young men implicated in one of the most heinous local crimes in recent history – the brutal gang rape and forced incest of a mother and son inside the Dunbar Village housing project.

Walker had already begun serving a life sentence in prison for the crime last year when U.S. Supreme Court justices mentioned him by name in a court ruling declaring Florida courts were unconstitutional in sentencing juveniles to life in prison for crimes other than murder.

The ruling cleared the way for a new sentencing hearing Wednesday, one that Walker’s attorney and relatives hoped would give him a chance, if only for a couple decades, to live in freedom.

What Circuit Judge Krista Marx gave him, however, was 60 years – just about the closest sentence to life she could fashion without disregarding the high court ruling.

Walker will likely get out in 51 years – at age 71. Prosecutors told Marx that Walker’s life expectancy is 72.

“I have never doubted for a second that the appropriate sentence is life,” Marx said. “But I’m not going to go against the court’s ruling.”

Walker’s mother, Ruby, burst into tears as soon as she heard the new sentence. Both she and Walker’s father, Nathan Walker, Sr., rushed from the hearing without comment.

Their son had mentioned them both as he testified Wednesday, saying they sent him letters telling him to keep his head up. His father had apologized for not being the father he needed. His mother sent him money and told him to trust in God.

Attorneys, meanwhile, spent Wednesday debating Walker’s fate in light of the Supreme Court ruling, which in essence said sending juveniles to life in prison with no chance for parole on crimes like carjacking and rape constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

The hearing marked the first time in a local case that a juvenile was resentenced because of the high court’s ruling.

The court’s decision mentioned Walker and another Dunbar defendant, saying that though they may deserve to be locked up for life, they should at some point have a chance to prove that they have been rehabilitated.

What the court’s ruling ignored, Marx said, is that there is no parole in Florida, which left her no way to give Walker a sentence that would give him an opportunity for early release. The judge suggested legislators reinstate parole – eliminated in 1983 – if only for cases like Walker’s.

Assistant State Attorneys Aleathea McRoberts and Terri Skiles along with Celia Terenzio from the Florida’s Attorney General’s Office took turns telling Marx that a more than 50-year sentence would satisfy the court’s ruling that punishments in cases like Walker’s give juveniles a “meaningful opportunity for release.”

“That doesn’t mean he is guaranteed release,” McRoberts said.

Prosecutors pointed to the severity of the crimes, the details of which Marx said she still remembered Wednesday.

The then 35-year-old victim said as many as 10 men forced their way inside her home and took terms raping her and assaulting her with guns and bottles as they beat her 12-year-old son.

At some point the group forced mother and son in a bathtub together, forced them to have sex with one another, and doused them with cleaning products as they searched for a lighter to set them on fire.

Walker’s attorney, Robert Gershman, said Walker has been portrayed too harshly, asking for a 22-year sentence while telling Marx that others charged in the case were much more culpable.

“Anything is better than life in there for sure,” Gershman said after the sentencing. “I respect the court’s ruling, but I think he deserved some time outside the box.”

Marx in her statements reiterated her thoughts from the first sentencing hearing, saying that as tragic an upbringing Walker had, it did not overcome the brutality in which he participated.

During his testimony, Walker told Marx that while in prison, his limited vocabulary and reading skills had improved to the point the was understanding more from the books he read, which were mostly self-help. Hard as it was, he said, he had adapted to prison life.

“It can drive you crazy, make you do things you never thought you would do, but that’s only if you let it,” he said of prison. “I just try not to get into any of those kinds of things.”

Another defendant in the Dunbar Village case, Jakaris Taylor, who also was a juvenile at the time, is eligible to be resentenced under Supreme Court ruling, though no new sentencing date has been set.

The two other men convicted in the attack, Tommy Poindexter and Avion Lawson, were unaffected by the ruling.

Poindexter was also sentenced to life in prison but was 18 at the time of the crime – something Marx said disturbed her because he was older than some other defendants only by a matter of months. Lawson was a juvenile, but he cooperated with investigators in the case and received a 30-year sentence.



3rd Teen Convicted in Dunbar Village Rape/Sodomy Case
Jakaris Taylor Faced Charges Of Rape, Kidnapping, Assault

POSTED: 5:31 pm EDT September 18, 2009
UPDATED: 5:34 pm EDT September 18, 2009
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A jury convicted a teenager Friday in the gang rape of a mother and the beating of her young son.
Jakaris Taylor, 17, faced multiples charges, including rape, kidnapping and assault.
A West Palm Beach jury deliberated for about five hours on Friday before convicting Taylor on all 13 counts against him.
Two others charged in the case were convicted on most of the same counts last month. Another defendant pleaded guilty and testified against the others. All the suspects were teens at the time of the 2007 attack, but were charged as adults. They face life in prison.
Authorities said the teens — along with up to six others — repeatedly raped and sodomized the now-37-year-old woman, beat her son and then forced her into sex acts with the boy.
Victim in Dunbar Village rape case testifiesPosted:
Aug 27, 2009 1:57 PM CDT
Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:57 PM EST

By John Bachman – bio | email Posted by Rachel Leigh – email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) – Prosecutors have decided not to ask a 14-year-old boy to testify in the Dunbar Village rape case. He and his mother were raped and brutalized in the attacks.

Because of his mother’s chilling testimony, prosecutors feel the case is solid and are choosing to spare the boy the pain of testifying.

“I couldn’t breathe. I keep crying, ‘Please, you are hurting me,'” described the 37-year-old victim.

Prosecution asked, “Do you have any idea why these guys would do this to you?”

She replied, “I don’t know.”

It was the first time the victim spoke publicly about the rape and attack that occurred in Dunbar Village. Dressed head to toe in white and speaking in a thick Haitian accent, the victim often wept as she told prosecutors how several men barged into her home and proceeded to brutally rape and torture her and force her son to have sex with her. She has permanent internal injuries, but, she says, the men meant to kill her by setting her on fire.

“Did there come a time where someone in the crowd talked about lighting you on fire?”

“Yes, they keep asking for a lighter.” She says she kept the lighter from them, keeping her and her son alive.

Throughout her entire testimony Wednesday, both defendants, Nathan Walker, Jr. and Tommy Poindexter, rarely made eye contact, only looking down or at their attorneys.

“I was crying and praying at the same time,” continued the victim.

Prosecution asked, “And why didn’t you scream out for help? Did you believe they would kill you?”

Victim responded, “Yes.”

The prosecution is expected to rest its case Thursday. Up to 10 men participated in the rape, but most wore masks. Only four were arrested. Two are on trial right now, a third at a later date, and one turned state’s witness.



Previous Stories:
The Dunbar Village trials of two of the accused started today.
Here are the latest reports:
Detective Expects More Arrests In Dunbar Village Rape Case  (08.27.2009)  Jurors this afternoon will hear closing arguments in the case against Tommy Poindexter for the assault on a Dunbar Village mother and her son.
Prosecutor: Poindexter ‘guilty as sin’ of assaulting Dunbar Village mother and son (08.27.2009) “Guilty as sin, right there!” Assistant State Attorney Craig William exclaimed before jurors today, pointing to the 20-year-old accused in the savage attack on a Dunbar Village woman and her son.
State’s case against 2 charged in brutal Dunbar Village attack nears end (08.26.2009). The state’s case against two young men charged in the savage attack on a mother and son in Dunbar Village is nearly done.
Attorneys draw out different roles of key witness in Dunbar Village rape case – (08.25.2009)
… A co-defendant in the savage rape of a Dunbar Village woman and her son testified Tuesday about details of her assault, naming six people who had violated her that night, including himself. Avion Lawson, 16, who has pleaded guilty, told of Tommy Poindexter having an assault rifle and being the ringleader. He described him as the one laughing as she was assaulted, the one directing others to beat the boy to shut him up, the one forcing mother and son into sex together.
Police witness in Dunbar Village rape case: ‘She was in the fetal position’ after assault – (08.24.2009)
After opening statements in the trial of two men charged with a brutal attack on a Dunbar Village woman and her son, prosecutors rolled out dozens of evidence bags, sealed with red tape. They began showing photos, pointing out the staples in the boy’s head after being beaten. One police officer described their demeanor at hospital after the attack. “She was in the fetal postion on side of the bed, and he was in the fetal position in the chair next to her,” said Dustin Moore.
Second jury seated in Dunbar Village rape case – (08.19.2009)
A jury panel was seated late Wednesday for the trial of a second man accused in the savage attack on a Dunbar Village woman and her son. Five females and three males were seated to hear the case against 18-year-old Nathan Walker Jr. Opening statements in Walker’s and co-defendant Tommy Poindexter’s cases are scheduled for Monday morning.
Jury selected to hear evidence against one defendant in Dunbar Village rape case – (08.18.2009)
… Moving quickly in the Dunbar Village sexual assault case, six men and two women were selected as jurors late today to judge the evidence against 20-year-old Tommy Poindexter. The panel of eight, including two alternates, was asked to come back Friday morning for opening statements. None are African-American. The hunt begins Wednesday for prospective jurors to judge evidence against 18-year-old Nathan Walker Jr. Poindexter and Walker are scheduled to be tried together, but each will have his own jury.
Two charged in brutal Dunbar Village rape set to go to trial Tuesday – (08.16.2009) …Dunbar Village – the public housing complex’s name itself connotes one of the county’s most appalling crimes. Two young men charged with a brutal assault inside one of its apartments go to trial Tuesday in the first public vetting of evidence in the case. This much is known for sure: a mother and her then 12-year-old son were attacked in June 2007 by a group of as many as 10 men and boys, at least some with shirts wrapped around their faces. The mother was beaten and sexually assaulted various ways and she and her son were forced to simulate sex with each other, according to a charging indictment. The 35-year-old woman told police that afterwards they were doused with chemicals in an attempt to destroy any evidence.
Youngest Dunbar Village rape defendant pleads guilty, will testify against others – (08.12.2009) …The youngest of four men charged in the gang rape of a 35-year-old Dunbar Village woman and assault on her 12-year-old son could become the star witness against others accused of the crime that stunned the community two years ago. Avion Lawson, who was 14 when the woman was raped by up to 10 men before she and her bloodied son were forced to perform sex acts on each other, pleaded guilty Wednesday to 14 charges, admitting he brutalized the two in their West Palm Beach apartment.
Youngest Dunbar Village rape defendant pleads guilty, will testify against others – (08.11.2009) …The youngest of four men charged in the bone-chilling rape of a 35-year-old Dunbar Village woman and her 12-year-old son pleaded guilty this morning. Avion Lawson, who was 14 when the woman and her son were gang raped in her West Palm Beach apartment in 2007, wants to accept responsibility for his actions, his attorney told Palm Beach Circuit Judge Krista Marx.
Dunbar Village rape suspect’s deal is dead, judge rules – (07.29.20090…Prosecutors will not be forced to honor a 25-year prison plea deal they once offered to one of four young men charged in the brutal rape of a Dunbar Village woman and her son, a judge ruled Wednesday. But the judge also strongly criticized the way prosecutors treated Tommy Poindexter, including taking a statement from him in December without precise assurances and then reneging on the deal later.
Nun on jury works at same church Dunbar Village victims attended – (08.20.2009)
A nun assigned to the same parish as the victim of an armed gang rape at a notorious West Palm Beach public-housing complex will sit as a juror in the case. The woman will be on the panel in the case against Nathan Walker, 18, who, along with co-defendant Tommy Poindexter, 20, faces up to 11 life sentences for the 2007 attack in the Dunbar Village community. The young men are charged with 14 counts, eight of them armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrator while masked, in the duration of an armed gang rape of a working-class Dunbar Village woman and her son, at the notorious West Palm Beach public-housing complex.



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Published: August 17, 2009
Lawrence Lucie, a guitarist whose career began in the early years of jazz and continued into the early years of the 21st century, died Friday in Manhattan. He was 101. His death was confirmed by Sharon Linder, an administrator at the Kateri Residence, the nursing and rehabilitation center in Manhattan where Mr. Lucie lived in recent years.
G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times

Lawrence Lucie in 2007.


Living to 100, and Looking Back on a Legacy of New York Jazz (December 19, 2007)

December 19, 2007    
G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times


Lawrence Lucie, right, at his 100th birthday bash in Manhattan. He played with Duke Ellington at Harlem’s Cotton Club.


Mr. Lucie spent most of his career as a rhythm guitarist, rarely stepping forward to solo. But he was a master of the underrated art of keeping the beat, and over the years he kept it for some of the biggest names in jazz.
“The most amazing thing about him is how many great musicians he worked with,” Dan Morgenstern, the director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, said at a party celebrating Mr. Lucie’s 100th birthday. “It’s like a whole living history of jazz.”
The list of Mr. Lucie’s employers included Duke Ellington, with whom he worked for a few nights in the early 1930s, and Louis Armstrong, with whom he worked for four years in the 1940s. He also performed or recorded with Billie Holiday, Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson and many others. He was the last living musician known to have recorded with the New Orleans jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton.
Lawrence Lucie was born in Emporia, Va., on Dec. 18, 1907. (Some sources give his year of birth as 1914, but he confirmed the earlier date to an interviewer in 1981, explaining, “In show business it doesn’t always pay to tell your real age.”) He began studying banjo, mandolin and violin at an early age and played in a band led by his father. He moved to New York at 19 to pursue a career as a musician.
Later in his career he performed and recorded with his wife, the guitarist and singer Nora Lee King. The couple had their own public-access cable television show in Manhattan for many years.
Mr. Lucie taught for three decades at Borough of Manhattan Community College. He performed with the New York Jazz Repertory Company and the Harlem Jazz and Blues Band in the 1970s and with Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans in the ’80s and ’90s. His last show was at Arturo’s in Greenwich Village, where he played solo guitar on Sunday nights until 2005.
Information about survivors was not available. His wife, Ms. King, died during the 1990s.
Published: August 22, 2009
HARVEY, Ill. (AP) — R&B lead tenor John E. Carter, a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, has died. He was 75.

Susan Fine, a spokeswoman for Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Carter’s native Harvey, said Carter died there early Friday.
“We have lost an incredible voice that graced two of the most significant vocal groups of all time,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the hall of fame. “As a member of both the Dells and the Flamingos, Johnny was one of a select few artists inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
Mr. Carter, who was known for his falsetto, was the last surviving founding member of the Flamingos. The classic doo-wop group gained fame with such hits as “Golden Teardrops” and their reworking of the pop classic “I Only Have Eyes for You.”
Mr. Carter left the Flamingos the first time in 1957 to do military service, and left permanently in 1960 to join the Dells, which had been formed in the early 1950s by some of his high school friends from Harvey.
Stewart noted that the Dells were one of the longest-running R&B vocal groups. The quintet had no personnel changes after Mr. Carter replaced original lead tenor Johnny Funches.
The Dells’ 1954 breakout hit, “Oh What A Night,” sold more than a million records when it was reissued in 1969 with Mr. Carter on falsetto lead. The Dells were also famous for “Stay in My Corner,” one of the first R&B hits to run more than six minutes.
The group toured extensively with Dinah Washington, and later with Ray Charles. The Dells also came to the attention of Quincy Jones, who coached them into a more eclectic vocal style, incorporating jazz, soul and Broadway sounds.
The Dells, consisting of Mr. Carter, baritone lead Marvin Junior, and backup singers Charles Barksdale, Michael McGill and Verne Allison, served as technical advisers on Robert Townsend’s 1991 movie, “The Five Heartbeats,” which was loosely based on their careers.
The Dells performed publicly for one of the last times in 2004, when they did an outdoor concert in downtown Chicago to celebrate their induction into the hall of fame.
The Flamingos were inducted in 2000.
Mr. Carter is survived by five daughters and several grandchildren.
John E. Carter and the Flamingos prove they are one of the trail blazers of R&B and the pinnacle of doo-wop singers, as seen here in this great video as my tribute to the late John E. Carter of the Flamingos:
Rest in peace, john.
Rest in peace.

Photographs by Alex Wong/Getty Images, for “Meet the Press”

Robert Novak on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in 2003, during the controversy after he published the name of a C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson. More Photos >


Published: August 18, 2009
Robert D. Novak, the pugnacious political columnist and cable television fixture whose nickname, “the prince of darkness,” was invoked with renewed fervor in 2003, when he revealed the name of a C.I.A. officer, setting the stage for a criminal investigation that reached the Bush administration, died Tuesday morning at his home in Northwest Washington. He was 78. 
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
August 18, 2009    
Robert D. Novak, Columnist, Is Dead at 78

Robert Novak in 2006. More Photos »



The cause was a malignant brain tumor, his wife, Geraldine Novak, said. It was the latest of a number of cancers and maladies, including spinal meningitis and broken bones, that Mr. Novak had suffered in recent years.
Over five decades Mr. Novak rose from a $68-a-week cub reporter to become the wealthy proprietor of almost a cottage industry, achieving prominence and celebrity as a conservative Washington pundit while parlaying that renown into books, newsletters and political seminars.
At one point his column appeared in as many as 300 newspapers, and he was one of the first personalities to emerge on all-news cable television. CNN put him on the air its first weekend.
He first drew attention as an old-fashioned, notebook-and-shoe-leather newspaperman. For three decades his was the second byline with “Inside Report,” a syndicated column, written with Rowland Evans, that became a must-read for many both inside and outside Washington.
After Mr. Evans retired in 1993, Mr. Novak continued the column alone, writing as recently as last September about the tumor that ultimately took his life. Mr. Evans died in 2001.
Among the column’s many scoops was a 1978 interview with the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, which carried a conciliatory message to the United States. Some say the overture helped pave the way for the resumption of diplomatic relations with China the following year.
‘Prince of Darkness’
There were more than 120 Evans and Novak columns about the Watergate burglary alone, one telling of a White House plot to blame the Central Intelligence Agency for the break-in.
During the 1980s, the Evans and Novak column was called, for better or worse, the bulletin board of the Reagan administration. But he did not move in lockstep with Republicans.
Leading up to the invasion of Iraq, he had been among the most vocal conservatives against the war.
Al Hunt, the Washington executive editor of Bloomberg News, said it was difficult to pigeonhole Mr. Novak.
“Bob was known for his very tough and hard-line views, but he was also a great reporter who liked a good story even more than his ideology,” said Mr. Hunt, who had worked for The Wall Street Journal for 39 years before joining Bloomberg in 2005. “He was the ‘reverse’ Washington. If you were riding high, Novak loved to kick you. And if you were down, he’d be there for you.”
On cable television, Mr. Novak was the often churlish commentator in the three-piece suit, his eyebrows, it seemed, permanently arched. He was a regular on various CNN programs, most notably “The Capital Gang,” “Crossfire” and “Evans, Novak, Hunt and Shields,” with Mark Shields, the longtime Washington journalist and former Democratic strategist.
Mr. Novak relished making outrageous comments. He once complained that his Thanksgiving dinner had been ruined by seeing so many homeless people on television. Always combative, he left CNN in 2005 after storming off the set in a row with James Carville, the Democratic strategist and commentator. He later contributed to Fox News.
Morton Kondracke, a colleague on the syndicated talk program “The McLaughlin Group,” once characterized the role Mr. Novak played so enthusiastically as “the troll under the bridge of American journalism.”
As for the “prince of darkness” moniker, which John J. Lindsay, a Newsweek reporter, had bestowed, Mr. Novak said he was amused by it. Indeed, he made sly use of it in the title of a memoir in 2007, “The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington” (Crown Forum). He said in the book that the name referred to his pessimism about civilization, not his conservatism.
Becoming the Story
On television or in print, Mr. Novak had uncanny access to top officials in many administrations. Yet Mr. Novak did not rely solely on senior officials. “He may be the only major syndicated columnist in Washington who regularly had a meal with the assistant minority staff director of House subcommittees, Mr. Shields said. “His sources weren’t status sources.”
Mr. Novak exulted in his broadcast success. “Now strangers come up to me and they say, ‘I love you on television,’ ” he told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1985.
So when Mr. Novak became embroiled in perhaps the messiest story of his career, Americans had a face on which to focus. The episode began on July 14, 2003, when, acting on a tip, Mr. Novak published the name of a C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson. Her husband, the former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, had made public assertions that the Bush administration had justified the invasion of Iraq by distorting intelligence about Iraqi efforts to acquire unconventional weapons. Referring to Ms. Wilson by her maiden name, Plame, Mr. Novak disclosed her identity as “an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

Chicago Sun-Times, via Associated Press

He shared a byline with Rowland Evans for three decades. More Photos >

A federal investigation began; federal law prohibited the disclosure of the identities of C.I.A. officers in some circumstances. And it led to the conviction of I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.
Mr. Libby was charged not with leaking Ms. Wilson’s name but with perjury, for lying about his conversations with reporters about Ms. Wilson, and obstruction of justice. President Bush later commuted Mr. Libby’s 30-month prison term. (Mr. Novak himself was at little risk of prosecution under the disclosure law, which applies mainly to people who have authorized access to classified information.) Some reporters were pressured to identify sources with whom they had discussed Ms. Wilson. But to the consternation of some liberals and news media critics, there seemed to be little focus on Mr. Novak. Judith Miller, then a reporter for The New York Times, went to jail for 85 days before she agreed, with Mr. Libby’s permission, to testify to a grand jury about her conversations with Mr. Libby.
In interviews, Mr. Novak seemed to rub salt into the wounds of the other journalists. “I don’t know why they’re upset with me,” he told Brian Lamb of C-Span in 2004. “They ought to worry about themselves. I worry about myself.”
Mr. Novak insisted that he would not name his sources, then disclosed them to investigators and a grand jury, saying he had felt free to speak because the sources had identified themselves to the authorities.
(Mr. Novak’s sources were eventually revealed to be Richard L. Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state, and Karl Rove, the longtime political adviser to President George W. Bush. Neither official was charged with violating the law.)
The episode all but culminated a career that had taken off in earnest some 40 years earlier, when, in 1963, James Bellows, the editor of The New York Herald Tribune, asked Mr. Evans, the paper’s chief Washington correspondent, to write a political column, initially six days a week, and agreed to hire another reporter to help. Mr. Evans chose Mr. Novak, then at The Wall Street Journal.
They were an odd couple: Mr. Evans was Philadelphia Main Line, Yale, squash and exclusive clubs. Mr. Novak was a smart, shrewd small-town boy “looking for trouble,” in his own phrase.
‘Evans and Novak’
The humorist Art Buchwald said: “Novak is the guy who hits you over the head with the truncheon. And Evans is the guy who offers you a cigarette.
The Evans-and-Novak method was to unearth a nugget of real news from inside Washington, or pick up on a piece of political gossip, and build a column around it. Over the years the column leaned in an increasingly conservative direction. (The Chicago Sun-Times became its home paper in 1966.)
For all its influence, though, the column could not always document its scoops. In April 1972, Mr. Evans and Mr. Novak reported that Senator George S. McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate, favored abortion rights, legalization of marijuana and amnesty for draft dodgers — positions that crippled his standing with most conservative voters.
Mr. Novak said the source had been a Democratic senator, but his refusal to say more prompted accusations that he had made up the story. Only in 2007 did Mr. Novak say that the source had been Senator Thomas F. Eagleton, who had briefly been Mr. McGovern’s running mate before being forced off the ticket by disclosures about electric shock treatments in his past. Mr. Novak said he had felt free to reveal his source after Mr. Eagleton died that year.
Mr. Novak also admitted to giving, on occasion, misleading descriptions of people quoted anonymously. He might say, for example, that someone worked in Congress when the person actually worked for the State Department, he told Right Wing News in 2007.
“It’s shady on the ethical side,” Mr. Novak said.
Mr. Novak liked to own sporty cars. In July 2008, he was fined $50 for striking a homeless pedestrian in Washington with his black Corvette. He said he did not know that the accident had happened until a witness on a bicycle told the police. The witness said the victim, who was not seriously hurt, had been splayed across Mr. Novak’s windshield.
Shortly afterward, a brain tumor was diagnosed, and Mr. Novak underwent surgery. But by September of that year, though now officially retired, he was writing again.
“There are mad bloggers who profess to take delight in my distress, but there’s no need to pay them attention in the face of such an outpouring of good will for me,” Mr. Novak wrote in a column that month. “I had thought 51 years of rough-and-tumble journalism in Washington made me more enemies than friends, but my recent experience suggests the opposite may be the case.”
Robert David Sanders Novak was born in Joliet, Ill., on Feb. 26, 1931, in a Republican home. His father was a chemical engineer who ran Joliet’s gas company. Robert worked on the local newspaper as a high school student and attended the University of Illinois, but he left one course short of graduation to serve stateside as a lieutenant in the Army for two years during the Korean War.
He then worked in Omaha and Indianapolis for The Associated Press before being transferred to Washington. Mr. Novak was recruited by The Wall Street Journal in 1958 and became known as a skilled political reporter. He also wrote for the paper’s editorial page.
In writing about his life, Mr. Novak said he had a brief first marriage to an Indianapolis debutante but did not identify her. He later married Geraldine Williams, a secretary for Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. Mr. Johnson insisted on giving the wedding reception.
Besides his wife, Mr. Novak is survived by his daughter, Zelda Jane Novak Caldwell; his son, Alexander; and eight grandchildren. A funeral is planned for 10 a.m. Friday at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Washington. Mr. Novak wrote seven books, some with Mr. Evans, on Washington politics and personalities. Robert Caro, who is writing a multivolume biography of Lyndon Johnson, praised their 1966 book “Lyndon B. Johnson: The Exercise of Power” (New American Library).
“Sometimes you read old biographies where you scarcely take a note,” Mr. Caro told Vanity Fair in 2005. “My sheaf of notes on that book is really thick.”
Mr. Novak grew up Jewish and was in a Jewish fraternity in college, but, like Mr. Evans, he was critical of Israel. He prompted a firestorm when he said the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington in 2001 had been provoked in part by the United States’ closeness to Israel.
After largely ignoring religion and dabbling in Unitarianism, Mr. Novak, in 1998, at age 67, converted to Roman Catholicism. In a ceremony, Msgr. Peter Vaghi proclaimed that the “prince of darkness” had been transformed into a “child of light.”
Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who was in attendance, warned against jumping to conclusions.
“Well, we’ve now made Bob a Catholic,” Mr. Moynihan said, according to Washingtonian magazine. “The question is, Can we make him a Christian?”
Published: August 20, 2009
Burl Toler, who as perhaps the best player on one of college football’s greatest teams became the focus of racial discrimination, and who went on to become the first black on-field official in the National Football League, died Sunday in Castro Valley, Calif. He was 81.
He died after a sudden illness, said his daughter Susan Toler Carr.
The story of Toler’s college team, the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons, is one of the most extraordinary in sports. Called by Sports Illustrated “the best team you never heard of,” the Dons sent nine players to the N.F.L., three of whom — Gino Marchetti, Bob St. Clair and Ollie Matson — were eventually inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame. Its head coach was Joe Kuharich, who went on to coach at Notre Dame and for three professional teams; and the athletic publicity director was Pete Rozelle, who became the N.F.L. commissioner.
Toler, who played on the line on offense and linebacker on defense, was drafted by Cleveland, but he never made it to the pros because of a severe knee injury in a college all-star game.
“I personally felt Burl Toler was the best player of any of us,” Marchetti said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “He was the best tackler, the hardest hitter, and he had the most speed.”
The team went 9-0, defeating its opponents by an average score of 32-8, but it was not selected for a postseason game by the Southern-based bowl game committees, ostensibly because of its weak schedule, but in fact because of its two black players, Toler and Matson. In the interview, Marchetti said Rozelle and Kuharich told the team they would be invited to play in a bowl only if the team agreed to leave the two black players behind.
“We answered ‘No, we’d never do that,’ ” Marchetti said. “And after we said no and removed ourselves from consideration, nobody ever had a second thought about it.”
In 2000, the United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution, submitted by Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, acknowledging that the Dons were victimized by racial prejudice and “that the treatment endured by this team was wrong and that recognition for it accomplishments is long overdue.”
Burl Abron Toler was born in Memphis on May 9, 1928. His father, Arnold, was a Pullman porter. His mother, Annie King Toler, operated a small store and ran a boarding house.
Young Burl went to a segregated high school and did not play football because of a severe burn on his arm; he had an accident disposing of a vat of cooking grease.
After graduating, he went to San Francisco at the suggestion of an uncle who lived there, and he enrolled at the two-year City College of San Francisco, where the football coach spotted him in the gymnasium and asked him to come out for the team. In his first practice, the story goes, he tackled the star running back, Ollie Matson, on three consecutive plays. Their 1948 team was 12-0, and both Toler and Matson earned scholarships at the University of San Francisco.
Toler’s wife, Melvia, died in 1991. In addition to his daughter Susan, who lives in Altadena, Calif., he is survived by a brother, Arnold Jr., of Memphis; two other daughters, Valerie, of Hayward, Calif., and Jennifer, of Berkeley; three sons, Burl Jr., of El Sobrante, Calif., Gregory, of Oakland, and Martel, of San Francisco; and eight grandchildren.
After his knee injury, Toler taught math and physical education at a San Francisco junior high school, the Benjamin Franklin Middle School, where he eventually became the principal. The school was closed in 2004, but reopened in 2006 as the Burl A. Toler Campus, home to two charter schools. Toler was also a commissioner of the San Francisco Police Department from 1978 to 1986.
N.F.L. officiating is part-time work, conducted mostly on weekends. Toler was an N.F.L. official for 25 seasons, beginning in 1965, a year before Emmett Ashford became the first black umpire in the major leagues and three years before Jackie White broke the color barrier in the National Basketball Association. Toler officiated a number of crucial games, including Super Bowl XIV in 1980, in which the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Los Angeles Rams, and the 1982 A.F.C. championship game, in which the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the San Diego Chargers. It became known as the Freezer Bowl because it was played in the coldest temperatures of any game in league history. The wind chill in Cincinnati on Jan. 10, 1982, reached minus 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Toler sustained frostbite on his fingers.
“He was very, very knowledgeable about the game,” Jim Tunney, who worked on the same crew with Toler for 11 years, said in a telephone interview Thursday. “He knew about blocking and tackling. He knew about the emotions the players go through playing the game, which is very important.”
Tunney said Toler was so self-possessed that whatever racist attitudes he encountered in the game simply never became an issue.
“He just didn’t allow racism to enter into his doing his job,” Tunney said. “He never mentioned it, and if it ever did occur, he just rose above it.”
Unlike baseball umpires, whose crews rotate positions from game to game, football officials specialize. When Toler began his career, there were six on-field officials: the referee, who lines up behind the offensive backfield; the umpire, who is positioned in the middle of the field behind the defensive line; the head linesman and the line judge, who are on opposite sidelines on the line of scrimmage; the field judge, who stands on the sideline in the defensive backfield, and the back judge, who is positioned in midfield behind the defensive backs. A seventh official, the side judge, an across-the-field complement to the field judge, was added in 1978.
For most of his career, Toler was a head linesman, with a twofold responsibility: first to watch for line-of-scrimmage infractions like being offside, and then to move downfield to monitor receivers running short and midrange pass routes and the defenders covering them. The job requires not just the instinct to read plays as they develop and foot speed, but also, because he lines up on the sideline and within easy shouting distance of coaches, an especially serene demeanor.
“Burl was extremely quick; he could run like the wind,” said Art McNally, the N.F.L.’s supervisor of officials from 1968 to 1990. “But more than that he was a master of getting people who were up on the ceiling screaming and bringing them back down again.”
Published: August 19, 2009
Don Hewitt, who changed the course of broadcast news by creating the television magazine “60 Minutes,” fusing journalism and show business as never before, and who then presided over that much-copied program for nearly four decades, died Wednesday at his home in Bridgehampton, N.Y. He was 86 and also had a home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
August 19, 2009    

Librado Romero/The New York Times

Don Hewitt in 1999. More Photos »

The cause was cancer, his wife, Marilyn Berger, said. In an interview in March, Mr. Hewitt said that doctors had found a cancerous tumor on his pancreas and that he was being admitted to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for treatment.
In a career of more than half a century at CBS News, Mr. Hewitt bridged the history of television journalism, from its birth in the long shadow of radio, through its golden age as an unrivaled fixture in dens and living rooms, to its middle-age present, under siege by the Internet. As a director and producer, Mr. Hewitt helped shape the early broadcasts of pioneers like Edward R. Murrow, Douglas Edwards and Walter Cronkite and oversaw CBS’s coverage of watershed moments like the first presidential debate, between Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy, in 1960; the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963; and the NASA space missions of the late 1960s.
But it was as creator and executive producer of “60 Minutes” that he had his biggest impact — imagining, in effect, what an electronic version of Life magazine would be like, and then bringing it to the screen with a mix of hard-hitting investigative pieces and celebrity profiles. It was a formula that the other networks soon imitated.
Mr. Hewitt was also instrumental in the emergence of the television reporter as a celebrity.
The reporters he recruited for “60 Minutes” — including Mike Wallace, Harry Reasoner, Dan Rather and later Lesley Stahl and Ed Bradley — became as recognizable as the politicians they confronted and the entertainers they interviewed. Whatever lineup of reporters was featured in a particular television season, they were presented to their Sunday night audience as equals.
Within a few years, the program had become a ratings juggernaut, a status that until then had been the province of comedies like those featuring Jackie Gleason and Lucille Ball. It took up residence among the top 10 shows on prime-time television for more than two decades, earning the network “maybe $2 billion,” Mr. Hewitt once estimated. At its peak, in the 1979-80 television season, “60 Minutes,” opening with the trademark ticking stopwatch, was seen in an estimated 28 million homes each Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Separately, Mr. Hewitt was given credit for creating, or helping to create, a number of television news innovations, like putting headsets on newsmakers at political conventions and other events so they might be interviewed remotely, and displaying type on screen — a subject’s name, for example. He said he got that idea from the sliding letters on the wall-mounted menu of a diner in Chicago in 1952.
He also gave new meaning to the word anchorman, which referred, he said, not to the anchor of a ship but to the final runner on a four-person relay team, the one who in effect would carry the news home and receive the most attention in the process.
A New Model for TV
In more than 35 years at the helm of “60 Minutes,” which he led from its founding in 1968 to his departure, under pressure, at age 82 in 2004, Mr. Hewitt made stars (and millionaires) not only of Mr. Rather, Mr. Wallace, Mr. Bradley and Ms. Stahl, but also of Morley Safer, Steve Kroft and Andy Rooney. While theirs were the faces that, collectively, opened the program for decades each Sunday night at 7 (or a bit later in football season), the program that viewers ultimately saw was largely forged off-camera by Mr. Hewitt.
Having been fired in the mid-1960s as executive producer of Mr. Cronkite’s “CBS Evening News” — Fred Friendly, who was president of CBS News at the time, faulted Mr. Hewitt for his emphasis on “lots of dazzle, lots of pace” — Mr. Hewitt used his brief time in exile within the news division headquarters in Manhattan to conceive a program that he likened to a broadcast version of a general-interest magazine like Life.
Mr. Hewitt reasoned that “60 Minutes” — named for the hour of prime time the network would give him each week — would toggle between hard news and soft.
“We could look into Marilyn Monroe’s closet, so long as we looked into Robert Oppenheimer’s laboratory, too,” he wrote in his 2001 memoir “Tell Me a Story.” “We could make the news entertaining, without compromising our integrity.”
A Force Behind the News
Behind the scenes, he could be a stern, hyperkinetic taskmaster. Tom Goodman, a former public relations executive at CBS, recalled Wednesday that Mr. Hewitt was known for the occasional screaming match with Mr. Wallace and would sometimes threaten to quit over minor matters, behavior that the management knew it had to put up with.
A story often told at CBS, and by Mr. Hewitt himself, involved an incident in which he and Mr. Wallace were on a plane together when Mr. Wallace collapsed. Mr. Hewitt recalled looking down and saying, using an expletive: “Oh, he’s dead. Now we’re never going to catch ‘Cheers.’ ”
Mr. Hewitt established and enforced a set of fundamental elements for the program: an emphasis on narrative; interviews in which the questions (and questioners) were often more interesting than the subjects themselves; occasional gotcha moments that snared wrongdoers like Watergate co-conspirators or cigarette manufacturers; and, as respites from the more sober reports, candid conversations with personalities like Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne, Robin Williams and Bruce Springsteen.
The format spawned a host of newsmagazine competitors, among them “20/20,” “Prime Time Live” and, to some extent, “Nightline,” all on ABC, as well as “Dateline” on NBC. For several years it also had a sister broadcast on CBS, known as “60 Minutes II” and “60 Minutes Wednesday.”
“ ‘60 Minutes’ was the model and the framework of everything that followed,” said Victor Neufeld, who was a senior producer of “20/20” at its inception in the late 1970s and was the program’s executive producer for 16 years, ending in 2002. “ ‘20/20’ was a different version of ‘60 Minutes.’ It was the same concept of taking information and telling compelling stories, nonfiction stories with strong characters, in a prime-time environment.”
But by demonstrating that news could deliver big audiences at a fraction of the cost of a scripted comedy or drama, Mr. Hewitt and “60 Minutes” also helped usher in an era in television in which reality would become routinely wrapped in the gilt of excess and sensationalism.
In more recent years, an offshoot of “Dateline” called “To Catch a Predator” would seek to entrap pedophiles on camera in ways reminiscent of one of Mr. Wallace’s early pieces. In that report, a “60 Minutes” producer working with the Better Government Association of Chicago had turned a Chicago storefront into a dummy health clinic, with the intent of catching a representative for a blood lab in the act of seeking a kickback. At the climactic moment, Mr. Wallace appeared from behind a one-way mirror.
With a mix of stories in both content and tone, Mr. Hewitt strove for balance on “60 Minutes.” But that studied approach was thrown to the wayside by some early-evening entertainment news shows, which focused on gossip and stories that were often spoon-fed to them by movie and television publicists.
As his “60 Minutes” career was drawing to a close, Mr. Hewitt appeared to acknowledge what he had wrought.
“We started a trend, and we ruined television,” he said in 2002, on an episode of the PBS program “American Masters” that focused on “60 Minutes,” “because we made it profitable to do this kind of thing.”
Mr. Hewitt was also present at what is now regarded as the inception of the modern presidential campaign: the first 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate, which established television as the pre-eminent medium in American electoral politics. Mr. Hewitt produced and directed the face-off, in Chicago, for the three major networks.
His involvement in the event extended even to the makeup. Mr. Hewitt said he offered makeup to Kennedy, who refused. Nixon, following suit, also refused. But Kennedy was suntanned and Nixon was not, and without makeup Nixon’s complexion came across as pasty, setting off his five o’clock shadow. Many critics have said that Kennedy was perceived to have won the debate, and eventually won the election, because he looked better on camera that day.
Strife at CBS
With Mr. Cronkite’s death in July at age 92, CBS News has now lost two of its biggest pillars in a little over a month. There was a time when the two men were on opposite sides of a story that roiled CBS. In 1974, “60 Minutes” presented a muckraking Mike Wallace report about press junkets that named CBS as having organized free trips paid for by corporations to working journalists and identified Mr. Cronkite, the network’s leading anchorman, as one who had accepted junkets in the past.
In what he later regarded as one of the darkest periods of his career, Mr. Hewitt capitulated in 1995 to CBS’s demand that he kill a “60 Minutes” piece based on interviews with an “insider” from the Brown & Williamson tobacco company. The insider, a former Brown & Williamson scientist named Jeffrey Wigand, had provided “60 Minutes” with evidence that the company had systematically disregarded evidence on the dangers of smoking.
The network, which was in the process of being sold to Westinghouse, worried that the broadcast could expose CBS to billions of dollars in potential liability, because it could be perceived as abetting Mr. Wigand in breaking a confidentiality agreement he had signed. Among those sharply and publicly critical of Mr. Hewitt’s acquiescence were Mr. Wallace, the correspondent on the segment, and Lowell Bergman, the segment producer. Mr. Bergman’s defiance was memorialized by Al Pacino, who played him in the 1999 film “The Insider,” based on a Vanity Fair article about the episode.
In his 2001 memoir, Mr. Hewitt said his hands had been tied by the network’s lawyers. He recalled telling Mr. Wallace, “Look, the only way to get this story on the air is to go out and hire a bunch of guerrillas and take the transmitter at gunpoint.”
“Failing that,” he wrote, “what could we do about it? We could quit, of course. But I had spent too much of my life making ‘60 Minutes’ what it was.”
Eventually, after The Wall Street Journal beat “60 Minutes” to a version of the same story through an article based on Mr. Wigand’s testimony in a court case, “60 Minutes” belatedly broadcast its report on the matter.
Donald Shepard Hewitt was born in New York City on Dec. 14, 1922, and grew up just north of the city in New Rochelle, N.Y. His father was a classified advertising manager for The Boston American and later ran a company that sold circulars door-to-door. The young Don Hewitt found himself pulled toward two seemingly opposite poles as he logged endless hours in the local movie house.
“Through it all, I never knew which character I really wanted to be,” he wrote in his memoir, “Hildy Johnson, the reporter in ‘The Front Page,’ or Julian Marsh, the Broadway producer in ‘42nd Street.’ I would have settled for either one, with a slight nod toward Hildy Johnson. Because along with the movies, I had another passion: to be a reporter.”
The Path to Television
A year after enrolling in New York University on a track scholarship, Mr. Hewitt dropped out. His first job was as a copy boy at The New York Herald Tribune, for $15 a week. In 1943, he enrolled at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., in lieu of joining the Army. He eventually parlayed that experience into an assignment covering the merchant marine for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper, which led him to London.
By 1945, he was back in New York working for The Herald Tribune when he was hired to become night editor of The Associated Press bureau in Memphis. His new wife, Mary Weaver, began to pine for New York, though, and they soon moved back. His new job as the night editor at a photo agency led to a lucky job offer: a friend told Mr. Hewitt that CBS, known primarily for its radio work, was looking for someone with picture experience to join its new effort to produce television programming.
“What-avision?” Mr. Hewitt recalled asking.
At the time, in 1948, the CBS studio was based over Grand Central Terminal. “So I went down to Grand Central Terminal, and damned if they didn’t have it, up on the top floor — little pictures in a box,” Mr. Hewitt wrote in “Tell Me a Story.” “They also had cameras and lights and makeup artists and stage managers and microphone booms just like in the movies, and I was hooked.”
Mr. Hewitt eventually separated from Ms. Weaver, who later died. A second marriage, to Frankie Childers, ended in divorce. He married Marilyn Berger in 1979; she had been a correspondent for The Washington Post and NBC News who later wrote obituaries for The New York Times.
She survives him, as do two sons, Jeffrey and Steven, from his first marriage; two daughters, Lisa Cassara and Jilian Hewitt, from his second marriage; and three grandchildren.
Though Mr. Hewitt remained under contract as a consultant to CBS after his departure from “60 Minutes,” he returned to prime time in 2007 as an executive producer for an hourlong program broadcast on a rival network, NBC. He did so in a capacity that might have made Julian Marsh proud. Mr. Hewitt conceived of a special that would broadcast the Radio City Christmas Spectacular largely intact, so that the viewer at home could watch the show as if in person.
Asked at the time how he had enjoyed the experience — in which he directed two hosts, Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, posed with the Rockettes and managed nine high-definition cameras that Murrow and Edwards would have hardly recognized — Mr. Hewitt said it had been the thrill of a very rich lifetime.
“I consider myself a guy who married ‘show biz’ and ‘news biz,’ ” he said.

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Black American women obviously have no right to choose with whom they wish to share their lives, and no where is that more obvious in this video.

The Jan and Quiana Pietrzak murder-rape case is not the only incident that shows that Black women, and the men they love (especially if those men are not Black) have to face the threat of people shoving their myopic and hateful venom down the throats of Black women who dare to want a life with someone who will love them—regardless of the race of man they become involved with.

But, so silly of me to forget.

Black women have no rights that anyone is bound to respect.

Especially when it comes to something so important, so personal, so intimate, as to whom she will date and want to spend the rest of her life with.

May Nicola Fletcher have the man she loves survive his injuries at the hands of these cowards, and may Brian Milligan, Jr. recover from  the brutal beating he suffered, and may his attackers face the full force that the law can punish them with.

(Hattip to {;topicseen }

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