Obits and firings: March 10, 2017.

March 10th, 2017

Sweet Angel Divine, aka “Mother Divine”, passed away a week ago Saturday.

She was about 91. (One of the tenets of her religious movement was a disregard for chronological age.)

Mrs. Divine was the widow of Father Divine:

A charismatic preacher since the early 1900s, Father Divine — or the Rev. Major Jealous Divine, to give him his full title — declared in 1932 that he was God and attracted legions of devotees drawn by his message of racial equality, clean living, communal living and cash-only financial transactions.

One of the best things in the St. Clair McKelway collection Reporting at Wit’s End is his profile (with A. J. Liebling) of Father Divine at, more or less, the height of his empire. “Who Is This King of Glory?” might be available online, too, but when I went to the New Yorker website, it looked like you needed a subscription to read it there. In any case, I commend the McKelway/Liebling profile to your attention.

Scot McCloughan out as general manager of the Redskins.

And the Brockster out as quarterback in Houston. Speculation (both in the sports media and from people I know in Cleveland) is that the Browns aren’t going to keep him, either.

The Texans cut their losses with Osweiler after one season. He signed a four-year $72 million contract, including $37 million guaranteed, last year. Even though the Texans won the AFC South and advanced to the divisional round, he played poorly.

Edited to add: Well. The Browns have cut Bobby ThreeSticks now. And nobody thinks His Brockness is going to be asked to hang around. So who’s quarterbacking come fall? The season is closer than you think…,

Obit watch part 2.

March 9th, 2017

Captain William Dowling of the Houston Fire Department passed away on Tuesday.

Captain Dowling was fighting a fire at a restaurant/motel in Houston when the roof collapsed. Four other firefighters were killed: Captain Dowling survived the collapse, but was left badly injured.

…doctors had to amputate both his legs during his six-month hospital stay. When he was released, he had lost his ability to talk and sustained brain damage.

According to the department, Captain Dowling’s death is considered to have been in the line of duty, and he will be honored appropriately.

Obit watch: March 9, 2017.,

March 9th, 2017

Joseph Rogers, co-founder of Waffle House.

Obit watch: March 8, 2017.

March 8th, 2017

Lynne Stewart.

Quoting the NYT obit:

…a radical-leftist lawyer who gained wide notice for representing violent, self-described revolutionaries and who spent four years in prison herself, convicted of aiding terrorism..

,,,

Ms. Stewart was convicted in 2005 of helping to smuggle messages from the imprisoned sheikh [Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman – DB] to his violent followers in Egypt. Her prison sentence, initially set at 28 months, was later increased to 10 years after an appeals court ordered the trial judge to consider a longer term.

,,,

Ms. Stewart, who had been treated for breast cancer before entering prison, was granted a “compassionate release” in January 2014 after the cancer had spread and was deemed terminal. Doctors at the time gave her 18 months to live.

Ms. Stewart’s critics and supporters did agree on one point about her 30-year career, which ended in disbarment with her conviction: Like William M. Kunstler and other lawyers who were proud to be called radical leftists, Ms. Stewart sympathized with the causes of violent clients who deemed themselves revolutionaries in America.

Some of her other clients included Weather Underground member David J. Gilbert, “convicted of murder and robbery in the 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery in Rockland County, N.Y., in which two police officers and a Brink’s guard were killed”, Richard C. Williams, “convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper and setting off bombs at military centers and corporate offices in the early 1980s”, and the infamous drug dealer Larry Davis.

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#36 in a series)

March 8th, 2017

Jose Torres, the mayor of Patterson, New Jersey, has been indicted on corruption charges.

Three public works supervisors have also been indicted with Mayor Torres. Allegedly, the mayor “asked public employees to work on personal projects while they were being paid by the city”.

Worthy of note 1: various online sources show that Mayor Torres is a member of Criminal Mayors Against Lawful Gun Ownership.

Worthy of note 2: Mayor Torres is the second criminal mayor to face charges this week. SayUncle linked to a report that Mayor Anthony Silva of the (formerly) bankrupt city of Stockton has been arrested again: this time, he’s charged with “money laundering, embezzlement by a public officer, grand theft and embezzlement worth more than $400”.

Obit watch: March 7, 2017.

March 7th, 2017

Robert Osborne, the Turner Classic Movies guy. I wish I had more to say about him, but I rarely have cable and thus rarely watch TCM.

Dr. Thomas Starzl, noted surgeon. Among other accomplishments, he did the first liver transplants and pioneered the use of anti-rejection drugs.

Dr. Starzl later described those early liver transplants as both a “test of endurance” and “a curious exercise in brutality.” It involved, he explained, “brutality as you’re taking the liver out, then sophistication as you put it back in and hook up all of these little bile ducts and other structures.”

Bagatelle.

March 3rd, 2017

Kim Jong-nam Died of Heart Failure, North Korea Suggests

“Heart failure,” MacAdoo said in an almost sorrowful tone.
“Heart seizure,” Haere said automatically.
“What’s the difference?”
‘Everyone dies of heart failure.”

–Ross Thomas, Missionary Stew

It’s Baltimore, gentlemen.

March 3rd, 2017

The gods will not pay your overtime when you’re sitting on the beach.

A federal judge ordered Thursday that six Baltimore police officers be held in jail pending their trial on racketeering charges, saying no conditions of release were sufficient to ensure public safety.

There are actually seven officers who have been indicted.

Federal prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein allege that the officers, all members of an elite unit tasked with getting guns off the streets [Emphasis added – DB], robbed Baltimore residents, fabricated court documents and filed fraudulent overtime claims. Gondo also is accused in a separate case of being involved in and assisting an illegal drug organization.

According to this report, “some” of the officers were members of “the elite Gun Trace Task Force”.

As first reported by the Baltimore Sun, several of the officers were also highly praised in the October 2016 Baltimore Police newsletter in an article written by Lt. Chris O’Ree, a member of the ATF taskforce.
“I am extremely proud to showcase the work of Sergeant Wayne Jenkins and the Gun Trace Task Force,” O’Ree wrote. “Sergeant Jenkins and his team have 110 arrests for handgun violations and seized 132 illegal handguns.” He added, “I couldn’t be more proud of the strong work of this team.”

How elite were they?

In one case, four of the officers are alleged to have stolen $200,000 from a safe and bags and a watch valued at $4,000. In July 2016, three officers conspired to impersonate a federal officer in order to steal $20,000 in cash.

Also, I’m sorry, but if you are a police officer, your nickname should not be “GMoney”.

We need a Class D fire extinguisher.

March 2nd, 2017

Flaming hyenas update, for the record:

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed, for a second and final time, a lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of securities fraud in private business deals in 2011.

(Warning: auto-play video.)

(Previously.)

I thought the criminal case against AG Paxton had been dismissed and I just forgot to note it. But, according to the linked Statesnan article, that’s still on track to start May 1st.

artfirings.com

March 1st, 2017

Thomas Campbell out as director and CEO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Met said that Mr. Campbell, 54, had made the decision to leave the job he had held for eight years. But the circumstances surrounding his departure point to his being forced out. As The New York Times reported extensively in an article in early February, Mr. Campbell’s financial decisions and expansion plans had been criticized by some trustees, curators and other staff members. During the last couple of years, despite the museum’s record attendance, much of his original agenda was rolled back because of the museum’s economic difficulties, including a soaring deficit.

From the arts beat.

February 27th, 2017

Two stories that I think are noteworthy.

I was not aware, until Lawrence forwarded me this Vulture article, that the NYT had fired theater critic Charles Isherwood. And “fired”, apparently, does not mean “laid off because we’re cutting back on arts coverage”. but instead means “here are some boxes, pack your s–t, security will escort you out the door”. I’m having a hard time remembering the last firing I heard about at the paper of record that was supposedly “for cause”. Technically, they didn’t even fire Jayson Blair (he resigned first).

This hasn’t gotten a whole lot of coverage: the only other story Google turned up was from Forbes, and I’m not linking to it because it doesn’t say much. It sounds like the paper is saying he was too close to (and exchanged “improper” emails with) some prominent theater producers, while the pro-Isherwood side seems to be spinning those emails as perfectly reasonable, and sees the problem as Isherwood not getting along with others at the paper (especially Ben Brantley, the other (and senior) critic).

This came across a mailing list I’m on over the weekend, and I found it interesting as well: the search for “Porgy and Bess”, the 1959 film version directed by Otto Preminger. It has a great cast: Dorothy Dandridge, Sidney Poitier, and Sammy Davis Jr., but prints are extremely rare. There was one known to be in the hands of a private collector (who died last year: his widow still has it) and one owned by the “National Audiovisual Institute of Finland” who loaned out their copy for two NYC screenings in 2007.

Why is it so hard to find? Reply hazy and faded (the 70mm prints have all apparently turned pinkish, but there are supposedly some good 35mm prints), but some people suggest that Ira Gershwin and his wife hated the movie and used a contractual clause to have most of the prints destroyed. Other people dispute this theory. But the main problem seems to be: nobody wants to pay for a home video restoration.

Which is a damn shame, in my humble opnion. I’ve never seen a productuon of “Porgy and Bess”, but I’d like to. And I’d purchase a good quality DVD or blu-ray release, especially if it came with decent extras. This sounds like a job for the Criterion Collection.

(At least one person on that same mailing list claims this whole article is “frankly, nonsense” and asserts he saw a good print “just a few years ago in New York”. I wonder if he saw one of the 2007 Finnish print screenings.)

I’ll leave you with this still, which for some reason I find oddly charming:

The guy on the right is Otto Preminger. I’m sure you all know who the guy on the left is.

Obit watch: February 27, 2017.

February 27th, 2017

Judge Joseph A. Wapner, of the Los Angeles Coun6y Superior Court. NYT.

During World War II, he served with the Army in the Pacific and was wounded by sniper fire on Cebu Island in the Philippines, leaving him with shrapnel in his left foot. He won the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his bravery and was honorably discharged in 1945.

Of course, he’s better known to those of us in the older set as the first judge of “The People’s Court”.

For the record: Bill Paxton. A/V Club.