Oct 31, 2007

Hitler's great-nephews and halloween
Column: I might be a monster

I heard there are three brothers left. There were four, but one died, and now the remaining three live in New Jersey, or Connecticut -- one of those odd-shaped Eastern states -- where they have vowed to never have children.

So, that's how the Hitler family will end.

The mass murderer's great-nephews have taken the vow and, apparently, kept to it, so that no one, ever again, will grow up knowing they're related to the man who murdered millions in the name of a racist ideology.

Oct 29, 2007

Investigative journalism

Special report 1:
School officials hired a man being investigated on child molestation charges

In her first days as Interim Superintendent of the Clayton County School System, Gloria Duncan had the services of a driver and bodyguard paid for by her bosses. The bodyguard, 45-year-old Kenneth Jerome Alexander, of Hampton, was at the time -- and is still -- under investigation on charges of child molestation.

During the first seven days of Duncan's tenure, after former superintendent, Barbara Pulliam, resigned abruptly, Alexander worked 48.5 hours as Duncan's driver and bodyguard and was paid $35 per hour, according to school system documents.

Duncan spent the time visiting schools and community events "in an effort to reassure the public that the leadership of the school district was stable," spokesman Charles White said. Shadowing Duncan brought Alexander into situations where he could have been in contact with children, which raises legitimate concerns, given the serious charges against him.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Special report 2:
Bakclog of pending cases clogs up justice system

Kenneth Jerome Alexander has been under investigation on child molestation charges for more than three years -- technically.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation finished investigating the 45-year-old former police officer in 2004. Warrants were applied for and received, the preliminary case was presented to a magistrate judge and accepted, and the case was sent to the Clayton County District Attorney's office in March of that year.

But it hasn't moved since then.

More than three years later, the file is still there. The district attorney's office has not dismissed the charges against Alexander, and it hasn't brought them to a grand jury for indictment.

According to the GBI, the case is considered "under open investigation" until the district attorney moves on it.

District Attorney Jewel Scott said the case is "peculiar," but, according to records obtained by the Clayton News Daily, Alexander's case is not all that unusual. It is one of more than 750.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 26, 2007

Speech is a mouth

love you


then what
is emptiness
for. To

fill, fill.
I heard words
and words full

of holes

        -- Bob Creeley

Oct 25, 2007

When the worry began

At first, no one was worried when the 36-year-old defense attorney connected with a colleague's 16-year-old daughter in an online social networking site.

Robin Meredith "Robbie" Levin, who worked with the Clayton County Indigent Defense Office, showed his co-worker her daughter's Facebook site, where the girl had posted pictures and her friends had posted comments.

No one was worried, either, when Levin began to chat with the girl through an instant messaging system.

The girl's mother, an employee of the Indigent Defense Office, who is not being named, told police she, "was not concerned Levin was chatting with her daughter, because she knew him personally," Clayton County Police Detective Joanne Southerland wrote in an arrest warrant application.

However, as the conversations developed, the 16-year-old became "freaked out," and told her mother Levin had begun making sexual comments.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 24, 2007

Reluctant witness and the .32

A last-minute interview with a witness in the murder trial of Laron Deale Davis sent lawyers into plea negotiations, and may have bolstered the 23-year-old's self-defense argument.

After a jury was vetted, seated and sworn in, Tuesday afternoon, Clayton County Superior Court Judge Deborah Benefield let everyone take an hour and a half lunch. During that time, Assistant District Attorney Anece Baxter White re-interviewed Kenny Robertson, a reluctant witness in the prosecution's case against Davis.

Robertson gave White new information about a .32-caliber pistol that was found near the body of 32-year-old Corvette Gardener, after Davis allegedly shot her six times.

According to Robertson, Gardener was probably holding the gun when Davis shot her.

Defense Attorney Bruce Harvey said the information made Robertson "a very critical witness to the defense." After interviewing Robertson, Harvey turned to the defendant and said, "He's our witness now."

Read the full story, Presence of pistol key, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 22, 2007

Shoes. Glasses.

Police found Jeanette Henderson, of College Park, lying face down on the northbound side of Riverdale Road. There were tire tracks over her legs and massive damage to her head, Traffic Investigator Tommy Cash reported.

Her shoes and a pair of pink-colored glasses lay next to her, police said.

She was pronounced dead on the street, at about 1:23 a.m.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 19, 2007

In this God

Three ministers from The Movement of God, a church in Atlanta, climbed the steps of building M. Around them and below them, more than 60 people lit small, white candles. Brother Mike Pope began to sing, "Oh Dear Lord, I need thee. Oh Dear Lord, I need thee."

Pastor Gloria Still said, "Oh yes, Lord. Hallelujah, Jesus. Hallelujah. Oh yes, Jesus."

The song drifted into a prayer, and Still told the gathered mourners that Edward "Booman" Mills was their brother, their friend. "In this God," Still prayed, "we know that there's deliverance. In this God, we know that there's someone you're trying to set free. In this God, we know that you are trying to break the shackles."

The prayers drifted to tongues, as Prophetess Mary Melco prayed in what Pentecostals believe is a God-given language.

Across the parking lot, two Clayton County Police detectives stood, badges hanging around their necks, making themselves available to anyone who wanted to talk.

Read the full story of the candle-light vigil for "Booman" @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 17, 2007

Morning after all-night game

An 18-year-old got up from the card game, and a 20-year-old, sitting there, said, "No."

A few minutes later, the teen was shot in the forehead and the older man walked out of the room holding a gun, Clayton County Police Department Detective Michael Medious testified in court Tuesday.

Read the full story, 'Slight altercation' preceded card-game killing, @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 12, 2007

Shakespeare's spooks and specters

    Photo by Jeff Leo

Wearing brand new costumes, with price tags still dangling from their sleeves and size stickers still stuck to their chests, two student-actors practice making faces.

An actress, dressed in brown, sticks her tongue out, curls it up, and tries to touch her nose. An actor, wearing dark blue, lets his eyes roll back, showing the whites, while his pupils flicker, trying to focus on the inside of his forehead.

He grins.

"I have an emergency," someone says, and Clayton State University Theater Director Phillip DePoy turns around and raises his eyebrows.

"Hamlet's locked in the closet," the student says.

His eyebrows go higher.

"I accidentally shut the door to the costume closet door and it locked and Hamlet's locked inside."

"She's inside?" he says.

"Yeah," she says. "Do we have a key?"

"She can open it from the inside," he says.

"Oh. She can?"

"Yeah," he says, and he smiles. "Tell her to tuuuuurn the handle."

The student rushes off and DePoy starts to chuckle.

"That's good," he says. "I got to remember that: Hamlet's locked in the closet."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Oct 11, 2007

The language is always there

"Hammett wrote the man he feared he might be - tenuous and sceptical in all human dealings, corruptible and addicted to violent intrigue. He stayed on the job. The job defined him."

"Detective work was by nature prosaic. File prowls, blown tails, attenuated stakeouts. Crime stories demanded near-continuous action. File prowls must yield revelation. Blown tails must provide climax. Stakeouts must further plot. Hammett knew this going in: crime fiction was preposterous melodrama with a gnat-sized reality base. Never had there been a single case rife with multiple shootouts, homicidal seductresses and wall-to-wall mayhem succinctly resolved at tale's end. Hammett had to fit social realism into a suffocatingly contrived form. He did it with language - densely spare exposition and multilayered dialogue. He gave us a spell-binding male discourse - The Manoeuvre as moral crusade, the job holders' aria and torch song. Hammett's male-speak is the gab of the grift, the scam, the dime hustle. It's the poke, the probe, the veiled query, the grab for advantage. It's the threat, the dim sanction, the offer of friendship cloaked in betrayal. Plot holes pop through Hammett's stories like speed bumps. The body count accretes with no more horror than pratfalls in farce. It doesn't matter. The language is always there."

          - James Ellroy on Dashiell Hammett

Oct 9, 2007

Act of desperation

Wearing handcuffs, a 26-year-old father of two said he was desperate, said he wanted to prove he could provide, and said he was very sorry.

Curtis Bullock was arrested at a dumpsite on Arrowhead Boulevard, early Monday morning, on charges he took $538 from a Waffle House at gun point, Clayton County Police said.

Officer Michael Leggs wrote, in his report, that police chased Bullock, on foot, through the neighborhood and caught up with him at the dumpsite, a little after 4 a.m.

Bullock tried to explain, according to the police report. "Man," he allegedly said, "I was about to be put out of my house. I got two kids. My wife is going to kill me."

Leggs said, "Everybody works hard for their money."

"I just got laid off from work. We are going to be put out," said Bullock, who lives in an apartment at 875 Garden Walk Boulevard, in College Park, and has been unemployed for eight months.

Leggs told Bullock that the 6350 Tara Blvd., Waffle House would want it's money back, according to the police report. Bullock told the officers the money was in his pocket.

Read the full story, Armed robbery begins, ends weekend, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 8, 2007

Family reactions

Two days after her 18-year-old son was shot twice in the chest and dumped in the woods near a north-Clayton baseball field, Sandra Sanchez collapsed.

She had made funeral arrangements, talked to a Forest Park Police detective about her son, Raymond Sanchez, Jr., and was grieving with her family.

She agreed to talk to reporters Friday afternoon, but, then, everything overwhelmed her, and she collapsed in the front of her Morrow home, family members said.

"This is awful," said Brenda Pritchett, Sandra's mother and Raymond's grandmother.

Her voice broke, and she started again. "This is awful. Raymond was one of the best kids you could ask for -- until he turned 17."

Read the full story @ Clayton News Daily.

Oct 6, 2007

There's no kind of way out of here
Why impossible philosophical problems are the only philosophical problems worth thinking about, and how we can come to giving up on philosophy

Incomplete thoughts on philosophy on the weekend

1. Across eras, genres and schools, the attempt at escape persists through philosophy.
2. Escapes are attempted both personally, like Hume and Wittgenstein trying to "give it up," and formally, like Descartes and Aquinas, Augustine and Wittgenstein, trying to methodologically reach a plane where the methodology passes away.
3. There are no accounts of successful escape, except through death.
4. Escape through death, such as Socrates' example of voluntarily drinking the hemlock, serve to enforce, affirm and even actually found the system that allowed dreams of and prohibited the escape. Socrates refused physical escape, because it would undermine and counter his methodological work towards escape, but accepted death because it affirmed, etc., his work. His death, however, also established philosophy as an escape plan, without the actual exit, and reaffirmed the authoritative system refusing escape. Aquinas, likewise, escapes through a revelation that everything leading him towards the escape is "like chaff," but then he is struck silent, disallowing him to construct anything counter to the chaff, and dies. In death he is sainted, ensuring the work proclaimed worthless will endure.
5. The other mode of escape via death is even more futile, self-undermining and self-reestablishing, in that it is death in media res, with the escape plans still in process but the exit never having been accomplished. Example: Descartes died from a cold caught while teaching philosophy.
6. Participation in the creation of the problem through attempts to analyze the problem, contain it and escape it, is a reoccurring fear. "What if the true Evil is not the X dynamic, but the attempts to extricate ourselves from it?" A few recent philosophers on the Continental side of things -- I'm thinking Girard, Derrida, Zizek, and also Neitchze, and Wittgenstein (again again) -- have emphasized that problem, making theory of theory key, and making that contributing-to-the-problem problem central to their thought. It is possible that this fear is characteristic of the school.
7. Some problems, like the mind-body problem, are entirely made up of showing why the problem isn't a problem.
8. The less likely a problem is to be perceivable by untrained people -- e.g. no one has ever expressed having a mind-body problem themselves -- the more likely the trained people are to be attempting to escape. Contrast to ethics. This matches the ivory-tower libel of philosophers and the tendency of philosophers to seek escape through "normal" and "human" activities, such as love, war, work, art and games. Even though philosophy is founded on proclamations that rational analysis is what makes someone human, more than animal, it is practiced with the half-coded idea that rational analysis makes one more than human, e.g. Nietchze’s superman or logical positivist attempts at new, better language.
9. Philosophers fail at "normal" "human" activities -- love, war, work, etc. -- because they perceive the problems-in-need-of-escape in those activities, feel the failure of continued participation in the problem which they want to exit or abolish, and thus move into the philosophical attempts to analyze, contain, escape, etc. Those attempts are also futile, distancing the philosopher from humans, re-strengthening the problem, and continuing the cycle of self-undermining and self-reestablishing.
10. "Escape" may be achievable through the admission that escape is impossible. Acknowledging participation in the problem and the impossibility of rising above it may be the way to "give it up," the way to not do philosophy by doing philosophy. This end leaves us in the squalid and filthy mess of things, able to be ethically human but with a diminished portion of "rational" and an over-size remainder of "animal" in our rational-to-animal distribution.
11. This end is the St. Paul/Martin Luther/John Calvin beginning: An inability to save oneself and revelation through the realization of ones' own full participation in depravity. I am the chief of stinky shitters. If, however, we expect the reception of total depravity to separate us, elevate us, deliver us from the plight of the rest of humankind, we would be dreaming of escape, a dream which means the realization of the inescapableness and our participation in the problem was not adequately realized.
12. Realize ones' participation in the problem and also realize the inescapability of participation and also accept it. Abandon communes and claims to election, elevated elitehoods and visions of ladders leading upward. Give up schools for philosopher kings and secret sanctum conspiracies and with Gnostic imaginings.
13. To lose the attempted escape and accept that loss is to come to rest with humans.

Oct 5, 2007

Changing cop culture

Don't think about John Wayne.

The newly appointed Riverdale Police chief speaks authoritatively, with a bold and booming voice. He shakes hands that way, too, with his short, strong fingers and big, broad palm.

Samuel F. Patterson, a 59-year-old who flew helicopters in Vietnam and worked with the Atlanta Police Department for 18 years, comes off as big, strong, and manly. But in his first week as police chief, Patterson is promising to continue the department's direction toward friendly, courteous and professional policing, distancing his 43 officers from the image of over-aggressive men with billy clubs and badges.

"Obviously, we want to be disciplined, and obviously, we want to enforce the law, but there's a way to do that without being John Wayne," Patterson said, speaking of the late actor who is an icon of rugged individualism.

"We want to enforce the law with a certain level of professionalism," he said, "a certain amount of respect, even for the worst of criminals. I tell my officers, treat that citizen -- and in some cases it may be a criminal -- as you would want another officer to treat your mother. Do that and you can't go wrong."

Patterson, who has been with the department for two and a half years, took the top spot on Tuesday.

Read the full story, Riverdale's new police chief, @ the Clayton News Daily.

Oct 3, 2007


The two men sat slumping on stools in the middle of the pawn shop with their hands cuffed behind their backs.

They watched as Clayton County Police detectives and undercover officers milled around the shop, and as a television crew from a local station walked through the tinted, glass door.

"Well, this is a big production," said the owner of Acme Pawn, Tuesday.

Above his head, an electronic reader board flashed the words: "Everything on Sale! Show Me the Money!!!" In the window, between the security bars and the glass, hung a sign advertising the 7443 Tara Boulevard shop as "THE HOME OF GREAT DEALS."

Police said, however, that the great deals and low prices offered included stolen items the two owners had purchased after being told the goods were recently shoplifted or burgled.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Privitizing WWII by talking to the grunts instead of the generals.
What does 'green' mean?
Pictures of a crumbling hotel
Last use for books -- as decorative objects.
Catrographical Manhattan island.
Amnesiac abysses and strategies to find edges.
Presidential candidate McCain buys idea of 'Christian Nation'.
Democratic contender Obama likes theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (like Carter).
Pictures of the Iraq War, AKA Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Apologizing for Emmett Till murder.
The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and a voice saying "bomb."
Question from a dead man in the dream of a seedy Klan underworld.
Headlines that still grab ahold, from the NYT.
Greil Marcus turns to art for America's prophetic voice.
Pictures of the Taliban, taken secretly.
Frank Schaeffer takes it back.
Frank Schaeffer shows a legacy squandered.
Liberals like violence and they need it.
Do you have to love violence to love America?
Marching after Buddha in Myanmar.
Archeology of crack pots and faux arks.
Graham Greene's brithday quiz.
Remembering Bukowski, or trying to anyway.
Media becomes wallpaper, and then what.
Exuberant exhaustion in Denis Johnson's Vietnam novel, Tree of Smoke.

Oct 2, 2007

Two responses

Officers wrote 30 traffic tickets, during the operation, impounded six vehicles, and made 39 arrests, on charges ranging from driving without a license and driving without insurance, to automobile theft and possession of cocaine.

When a clerk locked the BP gas station, on the corner of Kendrick and Flint River Road, Friday night, a police van sat in the parking lot, and three people were locked in the back. One man, pulled out of his vehicle on suspicion he'd been driving while drunk, pounded on the inside of the van. He yelled -- "Awwwwaww. Somebody help me out of here. Awwwww." -- and kept pounding.

The BP clerk walked past the man's car, where it was being loaded onto a tow truck, and waived at the police officer guarding the van.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily