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Douglas Caddy

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  1. American Pravda: The JFK Assassination – What Happened http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-the-jfk-assassination-part-i-what-happened/
  2. Yes, this is the same person. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Unz
  3. John Newman posted this on Facebook today: Michael Doherty posted this 1 November in response to something I had posted and it was way down in the thread: “I found this in the NARA bulk download. 1st zip file, 2nd last document named docid-32977093. Memo for the record from Lansdale dated Oct. 30 1962. The end of the first paragraph appears to confirm that the CIA ran Alpha-66 operations against Cuban shipping, something they've denied for decades.....could be interesting. The record number is 145-10001-10273 but I do...n't think it's searchable on MFF or the NARA site yet.” Michael was speaking about a Lansdale document released on 11/3/17—see the attachment. I posted this reply to Michael today to pull it up to the top of a new thread: Michael Doherty, Thanks, yes I have this memo in my 11/3/17 nuggets directory. I have found a different back door into what Lansdale was up to at this precise moment. He had a hand in U.S. Army ACSI (Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence) and other Army OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) elements at the Pentagon about the use of Veciana and Alpha-66 for various purposes. Lansdale did not want to let CIA know about what they were doing because he felt the Agency would try to take over the op. I am in the initial stages of vetting all of this for one of the two chapters in Volume III. I am going to discuss the Veciana-Phillips 1959-1960 Cuban saga at the Lancer conference in Dallas next week. The Lansdale, Army ACSI, OSD, involvement with Veciana and Alpha-66 will be part of the other, later, chapter covering the 1962 period. See More Like Comment
  4. QJ/WIN: Who Killed JFK and Why https://www.amazon.com/QJ-WIN-Who-Killed-JFK/dp/1510708413/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490712250&sr=1-1&keywords=Who+Killed+JFK+and+Why
  5. RICHARD BARTHOLOMEW: THE DEEP STATE IN THE HEART OF TEXAS http://www.saysomethingrealpress.com/bartholomew.html
  6. From Playing with Fire by Lawrence O'Donnell. The moment Bobby Kennedy learned that his brother had been shot, he leapt into action: "[Upon learning that his brother John F. Kennedy had been shot,] almost immediately, out of his shocked, choked silence, Bobby started doing a lot of talking. In the next forty-five minutes at Hickory Hill, still not knowing his brother's fate, Bobby used the phones to circle the wagons. "Keeper of the president's secrets, steward of his reputation, Bobby, wearing sunglasses to hide the horror that was only just beginning to over­come him, did what he always did for President Kennedy. He started getting things done. "He called McGeorge Bundy, the national security adviser. He told Bundy to change the locks on JFK's White House files: the most impor­tant stuff was to be moved immediately to the national security office and put under guard. He called the Secret Service. They were to uninstall the secret Oval Office and Cabinet Room tape recorders. "At 2:30 p.m., [FBI director J. Edgar] Hoover called Bobby back. 'The President is dead.' Eight minutes later, the CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite announced that news to the nation. President Kennedy with his brother Robert, 1963 Who did it? As the awful day wore on, that became Bobby Kennedy's only question. Somehow his horror and overwhelming grief focused, in those early hours, on a desperate need to know. "The CIA. That was Bobby's first thought. He called John McCone, director of the CIA, and asked him to come over, right away. McCone ar­rived minutes later. Bobby wasted no time. He put the question directly to McCone. McCone was startled. Though he was director, he felt there were things about CIA activities that Bobby knew more about than he did. RFK had been deeply involved in covert activities, among them assassination attempts on Fidel Castro. Many in the CIA hated JFK; among other things there were rumors that he'd been planning to restructure the agency, dis­sipating its power. McCone was Roman Catholic. These two grieving men shared a language of faith, and they fell back on it now. The CIA director swore to Bobby Kennedy by everything they both held sacred, in fear of eternal damnation, that the CIA was innocent of the death of President Kennedy. Bobby believed him. "Certain Cubans were also on Bobby's list. There were Fidel Castro and his operators in Havana, of course. They had reason enough to kill JFK. JFK's operatives had tried to kill Castro. But there were also the anti­Castro Cuban exiles in the United States. They felt betrayed by JFK's withdrawal from the Bay of Pigs operation. A U.S. warship that the exiles had expected to support the invasion of Cuba had pulled out, leaving them stranded. And the FBI had received intelligence of threats against the president from exiled Cuban freedom fighters. "It was late afternoon now, and the Kennedy children were coming home from school. Bobby spent time hugging and comforting them. The radio reported the arrest in Dallas of Lee Harvey Oswald. Early news on Os­wald placed him with Cuban exiles who had been plotting against Castro in New Orleans. "Kennedy called Enrique Williams. Bobby was close to Williams, a leader of the Cuban exiles still hoping to invade Cuba and oust Castro. Williams was in D.C. that day, meeting at the Old Ebbitt Grill with his exile compadres. On the phone with Williams, Bobby was accusatory. " 'One of your guys did it,' he told Williams. "Williams denied all knowledge. Bobby hung up. The list was so long, so bewildering. There were Mafia kingpins with reasons to have JFK killed. Sam Giancana, the Chicago mobster, had shared a girlfriend with JFK. Bobby himself, as attorney general, had drawn Giancana's and others' ire by aggressive investigation into their activities. To Giancana's face, Bobby had compared the mobster's laugh to the sound of a little girl. "There was big labor, hardly above committing murder, often indistin­guishable from the racketeers that Bobby had spent so much time harass­ing and prosecuting. Jimmy Hoffa, the leader of the Teamsters, was on Bobby's suspect list that afternoon. But so was the Soviet regime. So was Lyndon Johnson. Any and all of them could sound plausible enough to keep the world guessing for the rest of the century. Hundreds of books would be written about what was driving Bobby Kennedy crazy that afternoon. Who killed JFK?" S Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics Author: Lawrence O'Donnell Publisher: Penguin Press Copyright 2017 by E. B. Productions, Inc. Pages: 68-70
  7. Douglas Caddy

    Am I Dreaming? The Post and MKUltra in RFK

    https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/06/05/was-sirhan-hypnotically-programmed-to-assassinate-rfk/
  8. How Robert Kennedy’s Assassination Changed American Politics https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/us/politics/robert-kennedy-assassination-bobby-rfk.html
  9. Rights Pioneer's Obit Prompts Disputes Over JFK Murder Half-Truths https://www.justice-integrity.org/1493-rights-pioneer-s-obit-prompts-disputes-over-jfk-murder-half-truths
  10. The US military is funding an effort to catch deepfakes and other AI trickery https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611146/the-us-military-is-funding-an-effort-to-catch-deepfakes-and-other-ai-trickery/ How will this issue affect the determination of whether a video or other research product is credible in the JFK assassination?
  11. David Talbot posted this on Facebook today: Why was JFK assassinated by his own national security forces, but Donald Trump so far has not been? I'm not trying to be inflammatory here. I'm just pondering a question that is looming large in many people's minds these days, even though the mainstream media is not allowed to breathe a word about the subject -- for obvious reasons. I'm asking the question as a journalist and as a presidential historian who has researched the Kennedy era in depth. President Kennedy's tensions with the CIA and Pentagon grew to the breaking point during his 1,000 days in office as he tried to find a path out of the nuclear-loaded Cold War, antagonizing the "military-industrial complex" that Eisenhower had warned him about in the process. But JFK's struggles with his national security establishment were subtle and discreet compared to the open warfare that has raged between Trump and the "deep state" since the days before he was even sworn in. It seems that each new day brings some Twitter broadside against the FBI, Justice Department or CIA. Now Trump is threatening to start yet another Constitutional crisis by demanding that his Justice Department investigate whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign. Kennedy might have threatened to "splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds" after the spy agency's Bay of Pegs fiasco. But he did so in private -- publicly, he shouldered the blame himself. Trump, on the other hand, heaps scorn and ridicule on his security agencies nearly every week, humiliating the men and women who run them, and loudly calling for these organizations to be overhauled. There has never been such a, bitter, flagrant power struggle between an American president and his national security bureaucracy. So, I'll pose the question again: why is Donald Trump still alive? It's certainly not because these understandably aggrieved security forces fear exposure by the media. Our major media institutions showed no courage when it came to investigating JFK's violent removal from office. When it comes to the deepest secrets of the deep state, our media just doesn't go there. And considering that the media has openly taken the side of the national security establishment in the epic battle with Trump --- seeing him (quite rightly) as a common enemy, there is even less chance that the press would look deeply into Trump's suspicious death. Is the deep state less prone to violence nowadays than it was during the Kennedy presidency? Uh, no. Just ask the people of the Middle East and any foreign leader who becomes a major irritant to the U.S. So what, then, is protecting Trump? I think JFK was more at risk because in his day the national security complex was a smaller, more cohesive organism than it is today. It was simpler for a power player like Allen Dulles to build consensus within his circles (Wall Street and the security establishment) that Kennedy had to be eliminated "for the good of the nation." To this crowd, JFK was jeopardizing the country's security (and their own power and wealth) by trying to forge peace with our Communist enemies and demilitarize the U.S. Today, America's security complex-- particularly since 9/11 -- is a vast and labyrinthine empire. The U.S. doesn't just have a military-industrial complex anymore. America is so thoroughly militarized that the country itself has become a subsidiary of that complex. This empire contains thousands of security agencies and government contractors and millions of employees. There is no central power figure like Allen Dulles in today's vast security empire, and so it is much harder to develop consensus within this sprawling network. JFK and Trump also have major ideological differences that account for why Kennedy was in a more precarious position. JFK's global peace ambitions directly threatened powerful men like Dulles and his circle. But Trump glories in America's world domination and has sizably increased the Pentagon budget, while fawning over men in uniform. His swaggering, imperial attitudes are shared by many in the security establishment. So no matter how he blows off steam on Twitter, there are significant factions within the deep state that are still cheering him on, or that at least find him a useful idiot. Finally, unlike Trump, JFK remained highly popular late into his first term and was likely to be reelected in 1964, even though his civil rights policies had cost him the Deep South. Trump's high negatives, not to mention his mounting legal troubles, give his ardent enemies in the deep state sufficient confidence that he will be removed from office legally -- either through impeachment or by the ballot. These security forces would then be spared exercising the extreme and risky option of Dallas 11/22/63. I'd be interested to hear your own theories on this taboo topic.
  12. Canadian believes father took photo of 2nd assassin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm-XJ-VQAHo
  13. Ghost of the Cold War By David Ignatius Wednesday, April 11, 20075 Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...id=opinionsbox1 Roll back the tape to January 1964: America is still reeling from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and investigators don't know what to make of the fact that the apparent assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, lived for three years in the Soviet Union. Did the Russians have any role in JFK's death? Then a KGB defector named Yuri Nosenko surfaces in Geneva and tells his CIA handlers that he knows the Soviets had nothing to do with Oswald. How is Nosenko so sure? Because he handled Oswald's KGB file, and he knows the spy service had never considered dealing with him. For many spy buffs, the Nosenko story has always seemed too good to be true. How convenient that he defected at the very moment the KGB's chiefs were eager to reassure the Warren Commission about Oswald's sojourn in Russia. What's more, Nosenko brought other goodies that on close examination were also suspicious -- information that seemed intended to divert the CIA's attention from the possibility that its codes had been broken and its inner sanctum penetrated. The Nosenko case is one of the gnarly puzzles of Cold War history. It vexed the CIA's fabled counterintelligence chief, James Jesus Angleton, to the end of his days. And it has titillated a generation of novelists and screenwriters -- most recently providing the background for Robert De Niro's sinuous spy film "The Good Shepherd." Now the CIA case officer who initially handled Nosenko, Tennent H. Bagley, has written his own account. And it is a stunner. It's impossible to read this book without developing doubts about Nosenko's bona fides. Many readers will conclude that Angleton was right all along -- that Nosenko was a phony, sent by the KGB to deceive a gullible CIA. That's not the official CIA judgment, of course. The agency gave Nosenko its stamp of approval in 1968 and again in 1976. Indeed, as often happens, the agency itself became the villain, with critics denouncing Angleton, Bagley and other skeptics for their harsh interrogation of Nosenko. In its eagerness to tidy up the mess, the agency even invited Nosenko to lecture to its young officers about counterintelligence. It happens that I met Angleton in the late 1970s, in the twilight of his life in the shadows. I was a reporter in my late 20s, and it occurred to me to invite the fabled counterintelligence chief to lunch. (Back then, even retired super-spooks listed their numbers in the phone book. I can still hear in my mind his creepily precise voice on the answering machine: "We are not in, at present. . . .") Angleton arrived at his favorite haunt, the Army and Navy Club on Farragut Square, cadaverously thin and dressed in black. He might have been playing himself in a movie. He displayed all the weird traits that were part of the Angleton legend, clasping his Virginia Slims cigarette daintily between thumb and forefinger and sipping his potent cocktail through a long, thin straw. And he was still obsessed with the Nosenko case. He urged me, in a series of interviews, to pursue another Russian defector code-named "Sasha," who he was convinced was part of the skein of KGB lies. The man ran a little picture-framing shop in Alexandria and seemed an unlikely master spy. I gradually concluded that Angleton had lost it, and after I wrote that he himself had once been accused of being the secret mole, he stopped returning my calls. Bagley's book, "Spy Wars," should reopen the Nosenko case. He has gathered strong evidence that the Russian defector could not have been who he initially said he was; that he could not have reviewed the Oswald file; that his claims about how the KGB discovered the identities of two CIA moles in Moscow could not have been right. According to Bagley, even Nosenko eventually admitted that some of what he had told the CIA was false. What larger purpose did the deception serve? Bagley argues that the KGB's real game was to steer the CIA away from realizing that the Russians had recruited one American code clerk in Moscow in 1949 and perhaps two others later on. The KGB may also have hoped to protect an early (and to this day undiscovered) mole inside the CIA. Take a stroll with Bagley down paranoia lane and you are reminded just how good the Russians are at the three-dimensional chess game of intelligence. For a century, their spies have created entire networks of illusion -- phony dissident movements, fake spy services -- to condition the desired response. Reading Bagley's book, I could not help thinking: What mind games are the Russians playing with us today?
  14. Lyndon Johnson: Israel Has Had No Better Friend https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/lyndon-johnson-no-better-friend-1.6073630
  15. How will gutting Net Neutrality affect the Education Forum? https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/backlash-building-over-plan-gut-net-neutrality-n823436
  16. https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/03/22/former-trump-campaign-chair-paul-manafort-secretly-worked-benefit-putin/21905514/
  17. Douglas Caddy

    What really happened at Mena

    http://prorev.com/wwduncan.htm
  18. Douglas Caddy

    Jim DiEugenio Is On Coast To Coast AM Tonight.

    Thanks, Joe, for alerting us to this. Here is a summary of Jim's interview: https://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2018/04/29
  19. Douglas Caddy

    E. Howard Hunt

    The decision that Dorothy Hunt must be killed and killed soon was reached after Hunt had this conversation with his White House sponsor, Charles Colson in November 1972.. Hunt got the message and chose to plead guilty at the first Watergate trial that took place in January 1973. Dorothy will killed in December 1972. Hunt, after her death, called his four children together and told them he was going to plead guilty because he feared they would be the next homicide victims if he did not do so. I attended Dorothy's funeral at a Catholic church in Maryland. Hunt walked across the parking lot when I arrived and embraced me while crying inconsolably. Then I started crying. The internment took place on top of a hill in a cemetery while lightning bolts continuously struck nearby. Its memory is embedded forever in my mind.
  20. https://theintercept.com/2018/04/25/intercepted-podcast-the-haspel-ultimatum/ As the CIA wages a domestic propaganda campaign to push through Gina Haspel’s nomination, Jeremy breaks down the history of the CIA and the Church Committee investigations.
  21. Douglas Caddy

    Will JFK Files Stay Secret?

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/trump-delays-release-of-some-jfk-assassination-files-until-2021-bowing-to-national-security-concerns/ar-AAwnicJ?li=BBnbfcL&ocid=UE07DHP
  22. http://jfk.hood.edu/Collection/Weisberg Subject Index Files/H Disk/Hoover J Edgar Part 1/Item 47.pdf
  23. David Talbot posted this on Facebook today: I suppose I must be waking from my post-stroke slumber, because I'm feeling like connecting again with the outside world. And what a strange and momentous time to be coming back to life! More on our mad circus of a country in a future post -- but for now I want to keep this personal. They don't tell you that having a stroke can be a liberating experience for some fortunate people...including me. I seem to have emerged from my brain trauma in a miraculously happier, even blissful and giddy state at times. I take life's daily blows more in stride, and feel its highs more acutely. I put things in perspective and take a longer view. I've become somehow more patient and attentive to others. Hey, I'm no saint -- but I have to say that my stroke has made me a better person, less temperamental and driven, more in the moment and in touch with those I love. (They say so too.) My wife Camille, who has been joined at the hip with me throughout my recovery and rehab drama, and I have developed a sick sense of humor to get us through it all. She's a writer too - in fact she interrupted her own wonderful book in progress for Viking Penguin on the globe-trotting, bohemian marriage of Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson (she was a kickass American frontier woman turned artist) -- to care for me these past months. (Fortunately she'll be going back to work soon.) Anyway, during all the stress and drudgery of rehab and doctor appointments, Camille and I entertain each other by coming up with book titles for today's modern stroke victims -- such as "Different Strokes for Different Folks." We also ponder writing a cheery book modeled on those upbeat hospital booklets they hand out to you -- we'd call it, "Congratulations...You're Having a Stroke!" But in all seriousness, this medical catastrophe has in some very real way been a cursed blessing for me -- just what the doctor ordered. It derailed my life in some essential way that I'm still trying to make sense of. I wake up every morning with two simultaneous realizations in my head...1/ Damn, I've had a stroke...and my vision is still screwed up, and so is my speech and sense of balance...and 2/ Damn, I'm still alive, and I can think and read and walk (slowly) and give love! The second thought soon overwhelms the first and continues to through most of the day. I just watched a re-reun of the Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts. (And yes, I greatly admire some of his work -- I must say that in my new magnanimous mood, because I was so critical of his Vietnam series.) Anyway, narrator Peter Coyote tells the story of how FDR first returned to his office in Manhattan after being stricken by polio. He needed the assistance of his driver to walk on crutches into the lobby of the big office building, but he still stumbled and fell awkwardly on the lobby floor, as a crowd of people looked on. How did Roosevelt react to this public debacle? He broke into loud laughter, and simply asked for people's help to get back up. That's how I want to navigate whatever is left of my life -- laughing off the calamities that have befallen me (after all, they're built into life) and learning to depend on the kindness of others. If you carry your burden more lightly, I've found that it's also easier on those around you, especially the ones you love and who care the most about you. My two cents for the day...or maybe three (my stroke has made me a bit long-winded).
  24. Douglas Caddy

    David Talbot writes about his recovery from a stroke

    David Talbot posted this on Facebook yesterday: Between Heaven and Hell: Tales From the Stroke Ward (Pictured: That's me outside the ward, much improved but still wearing a crooked smile) Before my ocean of feelings about my stroke – and the five weeks I spent in a stroke ward --- begin to evaporate (as even the most overwhelming experiences can and do), I want to record some observations about my sojourn at San Francisco’s Davies Hospital and the care I received there from its staff. My hospitalization still haunts me and terrifies me -- and makes me believe in people’s depthless capacity for love and compassion. When I tell stories about my weird and wonderful ordeal to friends and family, my heart begins to race, and I even worry about having another stroke. But I need to convey some sense of the experience, and how it changed my life forever -- and to pay tribute to the circle of complete strangers who for five intense weeks became my family. Btw, I’ll return to this subject now and then in future posts -- sorry, it’s going to take some time to process and I’m never just going to “move on.” I don’t want to. I want to always hold on to what I went though, and what I’ve become. Of course, you keep changing after a stroke, and who knows who I’ll be in another five months? But for now, I still have a strange sense of floating outside myself. I’m in my wounded, slowly healing body, but I’m not. I’m alive, but not fully. This hybrid existence gives me a different perspective on my life – and all my life-long passions (love, family, friendship, politics, journalism, music, film, food, the grand human parade, this mortal coil and whatever looms beyond, if anything). Everything is less intense these days, I see things in more proportion and with greater balance. And everything is MORE intense. My emotions can be as volatile and unpredictable as a high-mountain summer storm. This weekend, I completely surprised myself by bursting into tears while visiting the location where my son Joe has begun directing his first feature film. Then as I began crying uncontrollably, I started laughing at the same time. My jumbled brain literally didn’t know whether to laugh or cry—or do both. I was simply amazed to still be alive and to be witnessing this major moment in my son’s life, surrounded by a special group of young women and men with whom he’s been pursuing this dream for the last five years. Anyway, I’ve gotten off track… I tend to do that nowadays. This post is supposed to focus on the social experience of my hospitalization. Of course modern hospitals are like Lysol-washed factories. They have 24-hour shifts and work rules and protocols and workplace grievances and human grudges and bitchiness. When the fog began to lift in my storm-racked brain, I began to get a sense of the grinding routine on the stroke ward – and how its staff of strange angels often lifted me high on their wings, while bestowing the same special grace on ten or twenty other patients. Davies Hospital, which occupies a small campus tucked away on the edge of San Francisco’s Castro District, has something of a legendary reputation, as one of the main treatment centers for the AIDS epidemic that ravaged our city – a plague that brought out the city’s true glory and resilience and human solidarity. The stroke ward staff, and the hospital in general, still has glimmers of this brave past. The deliriously diverse makeup of the dedicated medical staff is the most powerful answer to the tight, walled world of Trumpism you can imagine. The doctors and nurses and technicians and support staff come from all around the world. They’re from Guatemala, Brazil, China, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Russia, Germany, Tasmania and beyond. They're lesbian, gay, straight and none of the above. And they all treated me as a human being worth their time and care. They sat on my bed and told me scandalous jokes. They gossiped about the stroke ward and the holiday parties that were being planned – and asked my advice whether they should go to Palm Springs for Christmas, even though they had mixed feelings about the guest list.. They shared outrageous stories about hospital life -- like the patient who was equipped with a bowel bag but couldn’t help from eating a smuggled-in bean burrito – with explosive consequences. (The haz mat team took days to clean his room –forced to swab even the intricate crevices in the TV that was suspended high above his bed – talk about going projectile). They expanded my traditional Western medical treatment, with all its latest pharmacology and intrusive devices, by offering me an array of alternative care, from acupuncture to Reiki massage. One especially creative male nurse adorned the center of my body with gemstones. (It felt warm and comforting.) A neurosurgeon who happened to come into my room at the time was stunned by the tableaux that greeted him – it looked like I was being prepared for human sacrifice. Among my numerous disabilities after my stroke was my urinary dysfunction. My inability to piss forced the nurses to catheterize me three or four times a day. This procedure is of course not something to look forward to, but as the dread time would draw near, I would dearly pray that I would get one of the more adept nurses on shift. The gay nurses tended to be best at wielding a catheter. “Honey, I know my way around a penis,” one of my favorite nurses assured me. “The trick is to use lots of lube.” As the days and weeks wore on, despite the nurses’ ungrudging xxxistance, I began to worry more and more about my equipment failure. My worst fear was that when I was finally discharged from the hospital, I still wouldn’t be able to, well, discharge. And as the date drew near, in fact, the nursing staff began to prepare me for this unhappy possibility by trying to train my wife and me how to do the procedure. But I proved inept because my right arm and hand were partially paralyzed. Poor Camille seemed amazingly game to learn the task. I’m delighted to announce (you can’t imagine HOW delighted) that just days before I was due to be released, the floodgates opened and the golden fluid flowed. When at long last I pissed on my own, the nursing staff – who had the sweet but sort of annoying habit of asking me how it went each time I visited the bathroom – broke into loud cheers in my room. For the rest of the day, doctors and nurses filed into my room to congratulate me. The blessed event occurred ten days before Christmas, and it was the best present I’ve ever had. Truly. I spent Thanksgiving on an eerily quiet ward, gorging on ice chips and whatever was flowing through my feeding tube (pureed turkey)? I did not get out of the hospital until December 22. But the holiday season was made much more festive for me when my wife and sister Margaret (who had flown in from the East Coast, where she writes for The New Yorker, to be with me) brought some sparkling Christmas lights to decorate my hospital room. I had requested lavender lights instead of the traditional red and green (boring), and the twinkling display never failed to cheer up the harried staff when they stopped by on their rounds. My male nurse from Brazil was a larger-than-life, boisterous presence, and he insisted on re-stringing the lights and re-arranging the bouquets that kept arriving, in order to make the room more fabulous. He succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Later, when I was getting ready to leave, he demanded that I gift the lavender lights to him, and I couldn’t imagine a better home for them. The deep, dark hours of the night are naturally the most disturbing in a hospital. The hustle and bustle has died out, and all you hear is the occasional, eerie moan from another patient’s room, some suffering soul who can’t make it through the night. It’s hard to slumber in peace because you’re awakened at regular intervals by nurses who need to “check your vitals,” to make sure you’re still alive. The graveyard shift at hospitals is sometimes staffed by heroic individuals – and sometimes by some of the sketchier personnel. About halfway through my hospitalization, I was very fortunate to have a true shining angel appear by my bedside during the late, late shift. She often had the unenviable task of catheterizing me in the wee wee hours, which she invariably did with expert hands and a remarkable good cheer. During odd intervals like this, I often fell into conversation with the staff, asking about their background stories -- out of journalistic habit, loneliness, and a genuine curiosity to know about the men and women who held my life, and my body parts, in their hands. This particular angel, whom I never saw in a bad mood during my long weeks in the hospital, had come to San Francisco from the Philippines as a young woman. Now she was a grandmother, and she regaled me with stories about her family and about the holiday feasts she was preparing. One night she brought her homemade tapioca pudding to me because she knew I had a hard time swallowing. Eventually it came out that this woman cared for her autistic grandson during her off hours from the hospital. While encouraging me to learn how to catheter myself, she told me that her brother had been crippled in a car accident as a young man, and had been forced to learn to catheter himself many years ago because he was paralyzed from the waist down. She told me that her buoyant spirit came from her Catholic faith, but there was something celestial even deeper in her soul. I could go on forever about my hospital “ family.” About the beautiful young Cambodian physical therapist whose parents had escaped the mad killing fields there. She forced me to stand when I thought my swirling dizziness would make me throw up. And this miracle walker had me walking with a cane when I thought I’d never take another step. And there was my speech therapist, the progeny of a Jewish father and Chinese mother who had met doing city politics (classic San Francisco story). She began each morning by reading to me from the daily newspapers, because she knew I was a news junkie. She encouraged me to start eating increasingly more challenging solid foods, carefully watching my throat muscles with each swallow to make sure I wouldn’t choke or aspirate. At this stage of my recovery, eating just a few morsels was so strenuous, and frankly scary, that it hardly seemed worth it. My speech therapist was another miracle worker on the stroke patient “reassembly line” who was so boundless in her radiance and determination that it was infectious. At a time when my facial paralysis made it nearly impossible to even crack a crooked smile, she made me laugh out loud about the latest Trump antics or absurdity of life. The cast of Davies Hospital Stroke Ward celebrities is much larger, of course, but I can’t celebrate them all here. I also don’t want to unduly invade their privacy. But let me at least sing their first names to the skies, where bright stars should illuminate the galaxy for all time in their honor. I will remember their large and small acts of grace and kindness as long as I live. They not only made it possible for me to keep living, they restored my faith in the often questionable phenomenon that is the human race. Stroke ward angels, let your names ring out forever! Glenn, Rebecca, Jason, Eliano, Nella, Sarah, Meaza, Thomas, Dr. Knapp (never knew his first name), Dr. Ng (ditto), Patty, Paolo, Larry, Jeffrey, Jane, Lisa. Please forgive me, all those whose names have escaped me. I plead mental infirmity. After all, I had a fucking stroke!
  25. Reinvestigating the RFK and MLK Assassinations at 50 The 17th Annual Forensic Science and Law Symposium May 2 – 4, 2018 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA A three-day national symposium re investigating the assassinations of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the occasion of the upcoming 50th anniversaries of those history-altering events will be held from May 2-4 at Duquesne University. The conference organized by the university-affiliated Cyril H. Wecht Institute for Forensic Science will feature the noted forensic pathologist Dr. Wecht along with many other experts on the assassinations. Confirmed speakers include: Thomas N. Noguchi, M.D Former Chief Medical Examiner, Los Angeles County Autopsist of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy William F. Pepper, Esq., Ed.D. Appellate Attorney for Sirhan Sirhan Former Attorney for James Earl Ray Paul Schrade Former RFK Presidential Campaign Aide Shooting Victim and Witness Philip Van Praag Acoustic Evidence Expert Co-Author, An Open & Shut Case Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D. Forensic Pathologist, Author and Educator
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