Jefe's House

Tag: new york times

Still Tricky After All These Years

by on Jan.12, 2017, under Politics, The Press, The Truth Is In Here


NY Times, 9/15/79

Does anyone remember Hollywood actress Jean Seberg? She made the mistake of supporting the Black Panthers and going against the FBI. Here’s what they did to her, straight from the NY Times, 1979. The lie caused her to miscarry and commit suicide.


“WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 — The Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged today that its agents plotted in 1970 to besmirch the reputation of Jean Seberg, the actress who committed suicide last week, by planting a rumor with news organizations that she was pregnant by high‐ranking member of the Black Panther Party.

The action against Miss Seberg, part of the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence program COINTELPRO, was intended to discredit her support of the black nationalist movement.

According to a document dated April 27, 1970, the Los Angeles office of the F.B.I. requested permission from J. Edgar Hoover, then Director of the bureau, to publicize Miss Seberg’s pregnancy, saying it was “felt the possible publication of Seberg’s plight could cause her embarrassment and serve to cheapen her image with the general public.”

Former Husband Assails Bureau

Romain Gary, the prominent French author and diplomat who was Miss Seberg’s husband in 1970, said at a news conference in Paris last week that the baby was his and that the F.B.I. had destroyed the actress’s life. (continue reading…)

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For Many, It’s Already Trump’s America

by on Nov.13, 2016, under Politics, The Press


White people finally notice.


If anything comes from this new round of media attention about racial incidents I hope it’s a fostering of dialogue among teachers, parents and kids about the wrongness of racism and bullying.

I am, though, troubled by the major media’s using racist attacks as click bait and making it appear that racism suddenly started happening in the past two days or that there’s been an “uptick” (stats proving that, please).

I’m concerned about well-meaning white people posting such news stories online with ominous comments like “it’s starting” and “so it begins” which is laughable to any person of color I know. Talk about speaking from a position of privilege! For many, and I include those closest to me, racial slurs, attacks and graffiti have been a fact from childhood on, so no, it isn’t starting, it’s ever present.

Even now, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that in my daily travels through NYC and Philly I regularly encounter racist graffiti that far predates Trump. Has anyone counted the swastikas and tested for the age of the spray paint and determined that there really are more of these per capita in the past two days? This is an absurd proposition, yes?

If we go back to 2015 and before, we can easily find a slew of local news accounts and youtube stories about these same kinds of incidents, and since when is racist graffiti in a middle school worthy of national news coverage? My god, when I think back to my middle school, probably yours too, a small group of rabble-rousing minors chanting a cruel slur was a typical day for some students (and teachers) of color. Swastikas, the n-word, and every other slur you can think of, carved into desks and scrawled on bathroom walls was sadly the norm.


For many, it’s already Trump’s America.

Were these childish acts Reagan and Bush’s faults? I never saw any news trucks outside my school to cover it. This doesn’t mean it’s acceptable and that it should be disregarded; again, I hope this week’s media spotlight fosters dialogue and teaching opportunities.

My fear is that what’s happening is that profit-driven major media news editors are finding it of interest to cull every local story they can find about racists acting out (mostly minors but I realize not entirely) and cobble them into a sensational front page news story.  (continue reading…)

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Impartial Corporate Media Names Hillary Winner

by on Oct.14, 2015, under Film/TV, Politics, The Press

Hillary won the debate. I know because the moment it ended told me so with the all caps headline CLINTON SWEEPS DEBATE. Not sure what criteria the editors were using. Today it’s a little more tempered but same unwavering message. Likewise another unabashed Clinton dynasty backer the NY Times sez A NIGHT GOES CLINTON’S WAY. You aren’t thinking of bucking the system and voting for another Democrat are you? A handful of people at the top of the media food chain are working hard to make sure you aren’t.

My beef isn’t with Hillary, it’s with the mainstream media on both sides. I’m tired of living in a cartoon.

UPDATE 10/15/15: Thank God I’m not the only one who noticed. See below.  “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised $1.3 million in four hours after the first Democratic presidential debate started on Tuesday night, according to his campaign.  His campaign blasted out an email seeking donations from his line defending Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as Secretary of State. The remark from Sanders was the most retweeted of any candidate of the night with more than 12,000 shares on social media. It was also one of the night’s most memorable moments and helped contribute to Sanders dominating attention on social media and in online searches.”


this just in… Bernie Won All the Focus Groups & Online Polls, So Why Is the Media Saying Hillary Won the Debate? (

and this

Pundits Thought Clinton Beat Sanders – but Did Viewers? (  “Pundits who said Hillary Clinton won the first Democratic debate failed to mention that every online poll one could find that asked web visitors who won the debate named Bernie Sanders…”


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The First Signs of 75% of Psychiatric Disorders Appear by the Age of 24

by on Oct.02, 2015, under Politics, The Press, The Truth Is In Here

Here we go again. Time to re-rerun and re-reupdate my post from January, 2011.  The reasons will be obvious…

Arizona Shooting: Treating Mental Illness Before it Kills

Let’s Stop It Before It Claims Lives

by Dr. Harold Koplewicz, President, the Child Mind Institute; January 2011

“In the mass shooting in Arizona Saturday there were heroes who prevented even more bloodshed…But there are others in this story who could have, and I believe would have, been heroes if they had the knowledge and tools they needed to stop Jared Loughner’s descent into mental illness.

“It’s heartbreaking to read the accounts of college students and professors who noticed Loughner’s bizarre and frightening behavior, shared their fears with others, but didn’t see a way to get Loughner effective help…It’s terrible to imagine a student actually sitting by the door of her classroom because she was so afraid of another obviously mentally ill student — and outrageous that it took more than a single day to resolve the situation. In fact, it took three or four weeks before her concerned professor, and others who had Loughner in their classes, were able to have him removed…What his professors didn’t do is acknowledge that he was a risk to both himself and others, and call the police.

“Schizophrenia, if that’s what this is — or any of the other psychiatric disorders that can lead to psychosis — doesn’t develop overnight. There are warning signs, and those signs didn’t prompt the intervention they should have. ” FULL STORY AT CHILD MIND INSTITUTE>>

So while everyone’s talking about the need to “keep assault rifles out of the hands of lunatics” and demanding even more legislation, well go ahead, why not?, it can’t hurt, I’m all for it, but they’re missing the point that (continue reading…)

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Not Down Wid’ TPP (yeah you know me)

by on Jun.16, 2015, under Politics, The Press, The Truth Is In Here

bizarro03What a bunch of one-sided fluff from CNN writer Eric Bradner on the secrets of the TPP (“How secretive is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?“).  For starters the article only quotes one source, Matthew McAlvanah, a paid shill for U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.  Froman is extremely down wid’ TPP.  By only including him as a source for this article we can infer that Bradner was either too lazy to go interview someone with an opposing view, which is standard procedure for good journalism, or is blatantly biased in favor of the pact.

Bradner also blithely parrots Obama (and his new best friend, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner) and explains to us that the reason the agreement must remain secret is because exposing the details might foil our delicate international relations (even though these other signatory countries already know what’s in it; who do you think is leaking these details to Julian Assange? I have a few guesses and it ain’t the Tea Party).  Besides, says Bradner, the legal contract language is just too goshdarned difficult for representatives of trade unions, who get to serve as “advisers” to the White House on the agreement, to understand.  Bradner makes the ludicrous claim (continue reading…)

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We Will Get Fooled Again

by on Nov.08, 2014, under Politics, The Press, The Truth Is In Here

Among this week’s disturbing news stories are two pieces that I find particularly disheartening for those of us around the world who think we live in democratic countries. First, there’s CJ Chivers‘ story from two days ago (New York Times, 11/6/14) that the Pentagon hid the fact that some 600 US soldiers have been exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003 and that they aren’t receiving proper treatment. These exposures weren’t during chemical attacks per se, but happened during our cleanup of weapons that insurgents had stolen from Saddam’s stockpiles after his downfall. I’m not shocked that the Pentagon strived to cover up these injuries to our service people, nor am I shocked that the Pentagon issued “a gag order” to at least one soldier who’d been scarred by mustard gas.

I’m disappointed that it took Chivers and the editors of my beloved  New York Times, who investigated and broke this story, a whopping 23 paragraphs to finally discuss where the weapons came from, who made them, and who sold them to Saddam Hussein for his arsenal.  The sarin and mustard gas weapons were “American-designed.”

Keep this fact about US-made poison gas in mind the next time you (continue reading…)

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Stop, Thief! Playwrights Once Again Laughing Watching Hollywood Chase its Tail

by on Jan.21, 2012, under Film/TV, Theatre

Producer Lindsay Doran proving what all playwrights know: Hollywood is full of self-aggrandizing idiots.

No shit, dingus.  Pardon my French, but in Carrie Rickey’s 1/15/12 New York Times article “Perfectly Happy, Even Without Happy Endings,” Hollywood once again shows its complete ignorance of its own origins.  Still a rebellious teenager, the US film industry would rather pretend theatre doesn’t exist and that Hollywood sprang forth from itself, rather than admit that it actually inherited plenty of brains and good looks from its nerdy parents.

Louis B. Mayer once supposedly said, “Theatre is a flea up an elephant’s ass,” the elephant of course being Hollywood. More accurately — and what I tell my screenwriting students every semester — is that theatre is a 3000-year-long dog and motion pictures are a hundred-year-long hair on that dog’s tail; that maybe one day film will evolve to the point that it bears no resemblance to theatre but that day is still a long way off, and that budding filmmakers and screenwriters would do well to spend a little of their time in school studying  theatre.  Unfortunately film schools around the country, including the esteemed institution where I teach and of which I’m a graduate, seem intent on doing everything they can to shield their students from the power of live performance, ignoring theatre as inferior, obsolete, old-fashioned, insisting that the only legitimate form of narrative storytelling is film, all the while stealing from theatre on a regular basis.

In Rickey’s article we meet the latest example of a smug Hollywood cannibal: highly successful Hollywood producer Lindsay Doran, who discusses all the time, energy and resources she spent trying to figure out what makes the  great Hollywood films so memorable and emotionally potent.  She analyzed a lot of movies, consulted with market researchers  and pop psychologists and concluded that, gasp, positive movies do not necessarily have happy endings (Casablanca, To Kill a Mockingbird, Titanic, et al). Indeed, the most powerful films of all time, she concludes, mingle accomplishment with great loss. In other words, “the accomplishment the audience values most is resilience.”

So far, so good, except that all of this has been stolen from theatre (Casablanca in fact was based  on an unproduced stage play called Everybody Comes to Rick’s) and it’s embarrassing that Ms. Doran doesn’t even realize it.  She’s now running around Hollywood getting paid to give  self-help seminars to  producers as though she’s solved a great mystery; as though no one had thought of any of this before her; as though the poignant plots and character arcs of these great movies happened by accident.  It’s bad enough that so many in the film industry still prefer to think the 3-act plot structure was invented by Hollywood during the 1940s studio era rather than being lifted directly from opera and traceable all the way back to ancient Greece.  Now we’ve got Doran,  casting herself as a great thinker and voice in the wilderness, realizing in her Hollywood vacuum that the best narratives are those in which people don’t necessarily get what they want but learn to survive anyway.  Shocking.  She could have saved herself a lot of time and energy by asking the nearest playwright.

Friederich Nietzsche

A playwright might have advised her to simply spend an afternoon reading The Birth of Tragedy by Friederich Nietzsche (coincidentally mentioned in the same NYT issue in Alexander Star’s review of Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen’s book American Nietzsche, A History of an Icon and His Ideas) and Three Uses of the Knife by David Mamet, or skipping both books and going straight to the Bible, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita or the writings of the Buddha.

David Mamet

You see, Ms. Doran, the primary purpose of drama has always been to show unhappy people going through suffering to try and stop their unhappiness, experiencing complete and utter despair along the way, and learning that they’ll never be happy (even if they do accomplish their main goal in the plot) but that life is worth living anyway.  Why? Because like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, total happiness is impossible to achieve.  Hollywood stole its narrow definition of “happiness” from 19th century stage melodramas which said all anyone needed to be happy was a good spouse, a good job, and entry into the middle class.  In other words, achieving the American Dream will make one happy.  As you have discovered through your own convoluted and costly means, movies (and plays) that endorse this belief are fun but forgettable.

The memorable and positive protagonist is one who comes out the other end of her or his desperate journey loving life and wanting to go on anyway despite confronting loss, regret and learning that they’ll never get everything they want. This is called gaining wisdom.  As I hinted at above, this unfortunate fact of human existence is also summed up by every major religion: to live is to suffer.

Any good playwright can tell you that audiences tend to feel healed and redeemed by watching someone else go through this tough journey to wisdom because it makes viewers vicariously wiser and prepares them for their own journeys.  This powerful approach to narrative storytelling is nearly universal in Western culture going back to ancient Greece.  Next time you’re stumped by a great cinematic question please start by ignoring Hollywood market researchers and your favorite pop psychologists, and asking the nearest playwright.  You’ll likely get your answers there.

“So where does Ms. Doran go from here?” Rickey’s article asks you in its conclusion. Hopefully to see a few plays.

By the way, Ms. Doran,  I can show you some killer spec screenplays that I promise you’re going to love.  Seriously. Have your people call my people.

[images via]


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Adios, Miss Pilgrim

by on Jan.17, 2012, under Film/TV

Frederica Sagor Maas, Silent-Era Scriptwriter, Dies at 111

Published: January 14, 2012, NEW YORK TIMES

“She told of Hollywood moguls chasing naked would-be starlets, the women shrieking with laughter. She recounted how Joan Crawford, new to the movies, relied on her to pick clothes. Almost obsessively, she complained about how many of her story ideas and scripts were stolen and credited to others.

“Frederica Sagor Maas told all — and maybe more — in interviews and in her memoirs, which she published in 1999 at the age of 99. Before dying on Jan. 5 in La Mesa, Calif., at 111, Mrs. Maas was one of the last living links to cinema’s silent era. She wrote dozens of stories, adaptations and scripts, sat with Greta Garbo at the famed long table in MGM’s commissary, and adapted to sound in the movies, and then to color.

“Perhaps most satisfying, Mrs. Maas outlived pretty much anybody who might have disagreed with her version of things. “I can get my payback now,” she said in an” CONT’D AT NYTIMES.COM>>


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Happy New Year From New York’s Finest

by on Dec.31, 2011, under NYC

serge becker

Embattled restaurateur and night club owner Serge Becker, former business associate of James Gersten, Derek Sander and convicted international drug smuggler Cordell Lochin

Toldja.  I know first hand as NYPD refused to take mine and my future spouse’s complaint after being assaulted and threatened with rape at La Esquina in 2006.

NYPD Leaves Offenses Unrecorded to Keep Crime Rates Down

by Al Baker and Joseph Goldstein, New York Times 

“Crime victims in New York sometimes struggle to persuade the police to write down what happened on an official report…Police officers, detectives and commanders cited departmental pressure to keep crime statistics low.” CONT’D at >>

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Serge Becker, Night Stalker

by on Jul.27, 2011, under NYC, The Press

Serge “Kumbaya” Becker portrays an ordinary joe. Photo via

Here’s why you pay a high end publicist a couple-grand a month. She gets you placed in publications like the New York Times Up Close section (Serge Becker, Night Life Impresario) to help repair your reputation, and makes sure you wear humble, down-to-earth nice guy clothes and strike a humble pose as a mere lover of good food and elegant atmospheres who wouldn’t hurt a fly.  How could a guy who loves candelabras be dangerous?

Naturally the fluff piece  about this fake La Esquina owner doesn’t ask him any real questions, and what kind of journalist worth his salt (the asleep-at-the-wheel Ben Detrick in this case) completely avoids discussing Becker’s pattern of condoning assault and battery of his customers, employing known drug addicts and convicted international drug smugglers

My “debauched” right arm. Journalist Ben Detrick you are an asshole.

(yep, read it and weep; I speak from direct personal experience) as his awesome front of house staff (described here as “discerning doormen,”  Detrick reduces all of this to mere “debauchery.”)

Um no, try a reputation for a pattern of allowing felonies at his establishments.  Private citizens, celebrities and politicians come out  in droves to do everything legally possible to stop Becker when he tries to seep into their neighborhoods and open another one of his elitist, violent drug dens, and with good reason.  Helps to have do-nothing cops on your side, eh?

Becker lookalike and Serge Davidian Liev Schreiber. Photo via

Then there’s actor Liev Schreiber whom I want to still respect as an artist but who stupidly describes pal Becker in the article as his “own private David Koresh.”  Does Schrieber know who Koresh was?  Was that a Freudian slip? Because in a way it is accurate, I’ll give Schreiber that. Becker is a man who loves violence and an exclusionary membership.

Becker, I fear for the emotional safety of your girlfriend and daughters (exploited in the article to help portray you as a humble family guy so I don’t mind mentioning them here) because you don’t strike me as a man who particularly respects women.  (Remember how neat it was when your good friend and star employee Dominic  Chianese, Jr. told my girlfriend and me, “I will take you around the corner and rape you…I will rape you…I will rape you, then ignore you.  In the old days you would be dead.”)  Boy, I bet you gave him a severe dressing down for that one, eh?  Are you training your daughters to be pretty and serve drinks as well, and do you drag them around the way you order your staff to do your customers? Serge Becker: Feminist. Right.

Please leave the good people of planet Earth alone and go back to hell (or Paris), t-shirt and all.



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