Raymond Sackler, Dead at 94

Raymond Sackler did the world a lot of favors. He donated art to improve our knowledge of the history of man and built a company which created the drug, oxycontin which threatens to destroy it.

Ironically, he built one of the world’s biggest drug empire based on product which numbs the taker, interfering with physical pain and inhibiting perspicacity, delivering it in measured doses, packaged in hermetically sealed containers, guaranteeing the absence of harmful additives. In most cases, the Government even pays for it.

Just for fun, figure out whether the net balance of his life added or subtracted from the human equation.

Felix is Dead

So I walk around with a camera, using it to document the race, humans etc. It may not make me smarter or stronger, but I feel better about life. Meeting and talking with others makes me less stupid and more aware how we are all different. I don’t ask for stories. I ask if I can help. Felix didn’t want help. He said he was ready to die. No one knows for sure, if he went. I learned when I went to the food pantry and my images of him were on the door. Last people heard, he had been taken to a hospice.

Felix lived here, right off the highway. He lived in the woods. He could have had a place if he wanted one.

His front yard.

Garage and reading room.

Pay Attention To Those On The Street

So, Donny Douchebag, our coldhearted faux President of the United States proposes to cut funds for the poor. What will happen to these people? Yes, they could work if they had homes, places to store their things and health care. What would you want them to do?

I feel Bannon’s bum body pushing this legislation. His boss doesn’t understand poor. Bullies squash their adversaries and then either walk over their bodies or joke about their predicaments. The President and his buddies would rather see dead and decaying bodies in the street than offer support. More money for them. More power for them. And less for those who due to either not being born rich, being a victim of a social or medical disease or having a diagnosable mental problem, don’t have a chance.

I have never been hungry, poor or without a place to live. Have you?

 

BRADY’s LAWYER DEAD at 90

So, Brady’s lawyer died at 90, a good age, time to do enough and live. Didn’t you want to know what some of these lawyers and defendants looked like? How many times do you ask for Brady material? Did you ever read the original case and then look to see how it has been eviscerated?

Don’t forget Brady applies to stuff that inculates and exculpates, though prosecutors are loathe to say anything positive about those they think to indict and convict. One might ask the latest SCOTUS nominee what he thinks of it, too.

Wolfgang Suschitzky, Dead at 104

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How prophetic of Wolfie! Great eye and great mind. Named his brand of photography “documentary.” Now it’s in the common lexicon.

I look at his work and say we have the same Jewish photographer gene. I share it with him, Arbus, Bernstein, Myerwitz, Model, Annie, Wegee, and all the great ones. All these photographers were witnesses and there cameras documented what they saw to enable them later on to see it.

As voyeurs interested in the human race, they saw the ordinary and the unusual. Sometimes to mock. Sometimes to inform. But mostly to do social good, introducing us to those whom we might not know and whom we might not hold in as high respect as they are worth. Their images made the subjects part of our family, maybe not close enough to invite for dinner, but close enough to not be afraid of our differences.

Just sad I didn’t become a photographer first, before becoming a lawyer and a judge. So, I have to conclude that there must be some other more dominant gene in my system.

Amy Beede, Dead in Burlington VT

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My heart breaks inside. I shed tears for her. I shed tears for all of them.

I knew her, you could say, as well as you can know anyone you meet on the street, Church Street. Bought her paints and paper for her art. Bought her coffee. May have loaned her a buck or two or three. Never got them back. Didn’t know Amos. Can’t know too much about someone you meet on the street, either.

Beaten to death for not a good reason. And, in a homeless camp where she spent the night, because she missed the bus back to Milton where she had a place to live and family. I hope the killing wasn’t motivated by gender animus, but who knows?

No way to die; especially when you don’t want to and aren’t ready to. So many I knew on the street suffered undignified deaths as they struggled to understand life. She was always looking up, even when she wasn’t.

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Amy tried to help others, despite her own personal problems, as much as she tried to help herself. Knew a ton of people and didn’t like a whole lot of them. A noble person she was. And that isn’t easy when you don’t have comfort zones to hide out in or a complete understanding of whom you are.

Before I left Burlington, we spoke. I suggested that she not come down from Milton every day and that she find things and people up there who would be of interest. “Nope,” she said, “Burlington was where her life was.” And, that is where it ended. Badly.

 

Anything Helps

Tom

So, my friend, Tom, lost his hotel room. Says that SSI doesn’t cover it and Howard cannot help him. Last night, he tells me, he slept on this bench that sits in front of the Parks and Recreation Building on Pine Street.

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I brought him some water as he sat on the curb eating, but someone had already beaten me to it. He had juice and a sandwich; didn’t want anything else. He said he’d sleep on the bench again.

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I found an old sign of his on the ground, in some flowers. I bought it for $1. It was written on and Arm and Hammer box.

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Skippy Makes A Bail Application

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In Court to see one of the guys I follow on the Street. To me, he’s Skippy, a light hearted alcoholic who has a certain joie to vie, singing, laughing and carrying on. In Court, he’s He’s Phillip Searles, charged with an aggravated domestic assault. Held on no bail due to the nature of the act and maybe his record. The State alleges that he is a habitual offender, but they haven’t filed all the paper work. As for the charge, the complaining witness, his wife, died, but whether he did it probably cannot be proven. So, they charged him with the assault based on the fact that he made an admission, gave some contradictory answers to the investigating officer and some other evidence.

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He’s asking for bail, not that he could make $25 were it to be set. He lives in the woods, when he’s free, a residence courts don’t usually recognize in determining whether he will return to face the charges. No bail package has been submitted as an alternative to jail. But the lawyer’s obligation is to assert his rights, here his right to bail. In addition to have probable cause for the charges, the State has to allege that he poses a threat to the community. The best they could allege, without statutory or case support, was that as a person charged with domestic abuse, he may well injure another woman were he to come into contact one upon his release.

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In a hallway interview after the hearing concluded with the Judge taking the matter into chambers to decide, Bill Norful, his attorney, talked about how difficult it would be to investigate the case due to the lifestyle of his client. He suggested that others could have injured her. Could have been another person whom she was seeing.