If you’ve kept up with the story of J. Everett Dutschke, his music and ricin letters here, you’ve had a full measure of the twisted idiosyncrasy and unusual crime he delivered to his neighborhood in Tupelo.
However, these three grafs leap of a Washington Post feature on him:
In the summer of 2012, as Dutschke prepared to enter his band RoboDrum in the annual Bud Lite Battle of the Bands contest, he started coming to the attention of law enforcement.
In June, he was charged with indecent exposure by the city attorney’s office after several neighborhood children came forward.
“He would get the attention of the girls with a green laser. He would hit the laser and click it around until they started to look into his house. Then he would expose himself,” said Dennis Carlock, whose 13-year-old granddaughter was one of the victims and testified to the incidents.
He was convicted on exposure and later charged with three counts of fondling minors.
As mentioned earlier, there has to be a book in it: Bean Pounding, with only slight apologies to Faulkner.
J. Everett Dutschke — from the archives.
The FBI is remaining mum on the recent case involving ricin mail in Spokane, WA. This is not surprising. The agency wants to avoid another case of mistaken identity and misdirection.
From the AP wire:
Agency spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich added legal documents in the case also might be sealed. Their comments come after law enforcement officers raided a Spokane apartment Saturday and witnesses said they escorted a man from the building.
The letters were postmarked last Tuesday in Spokane and addressed to the downtown post office and the adjacent federal building. They were intercepted by the Postal Service, and no one was injured.
Investigators in hazardous materials suits spent most of Saturday executing a search warrant at the three-story apartment building …
There was no answer after a knock on the door of the apartment that was raided.
I think there might be a sitcom or comedy movie in castor bean pounding, don’t you?
It just writes itself. Weird freaky guys with unusual hobbies, framing enemies, scaring neighbors and making themselves famous through a new kind of performance art.
The American bioterror defense effort is riddled with rent-seekers, individuals and businesses who spent the better part of the war on terror years inflating threats to increase spending in the field.
Most recently DD blog covered the company Soligenix which promptly used the recent ricin case to go looking for funding in the mainstream press.
Indeed, anthrax mailer Bruce Ivins can be thought of as the most successful bioterrorism research rent-seeker. Part of his motivation in mailing anthrax, according to FBI reasoning, was to save interest in research and development on the anthrax vaccine, of which he was a major part.
Ivins was spectacularly successful. The national panic over the anthrax mailings virtually created the modern bioterror defense industry in the United States.
Over the weekend, Los Angeles Times reporter David Willman, who was the first to publish news on Ivins and his suicide in 2008, went public with a story that fingered another big name from bioterrorism defense, former assistant secretary of defense Richard Danzig.
“Anthrax drug brings $334 million to Pentagon advisor’s biotech firm,” reads the headline in the newspaper.
Danzig, a lawyer, made himself into an expert on bioterrorism — an expert fond of always insisting the threat was imminent, that bioterror attacks were easy to mount.
From the LAT:
Over the last decade, former Navy Secretary Richard J. Danzig, a prominent lawyer, presidential advisor and biowarfare consultant to the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, has urged the government to counter what he called a major threat to national security.
Terrorists, he warned, could easily engineer a devastating killer germ: a form of anthrax resistant to common antibiotics.
U.S. intelligence agencies have never established that any nation or terrorist group has made such a weapon, and biodefense scientists say doing so would be very difficult. Nevertheless, Danzig has energetically promoted the threat — and prodded the government to stockpile a new type of drug to defend against it …
Danzig did this while serving as a director of a biotech startup that won $334 million in federal contracts to supply just such a drug, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.
By his own account, Danzig encouraged Human Genome Sciences Inc. to develop the compound, and from 2001 through 2012 he collected more than $1 million in director’s fees and other compensation from the company, records show.
The LATimes account is damning. By all accounts, Richard Danzig’s career as a bioterror defense advisor should be over. Of course, he has already made his pile.
“Dr. Philip K. Russell, a biodefense official in the George W. Bush administration who attended invitation-only seminars on bioterrorism led by Danzig, said he did not know about Danzig’s tie to the biotech company until The Times asked him about it,” continued Willlman.
“Holy smoke—that was a horrible conflict of interest,” the scientist told the newspaper.
During the salad years of the war on terror Danzig peddled a talk and paper entitled “Catastrophic Bioterrorism — What is to be done?”
In the paper Danzig recommended a counter-measure drug to anti-biotic resistant anthrax be developed as soon as possible. He added that making antibiotic resistant anthrax was an elementary process, one that could be performed by a high school student.
In all this time, Danzig did not inform many, if any people, that he was on the board of directors of Human Genome.
“A Times search found seven papers Danzig had written on bioterrorism since 2001, reported Willman for the Times. “In only one of those did he disclose his tie to Human Genome.”
Danzig told the Times he had noted his position with the firm in confidential forms required annually by the government.
During the war on terror years Danzig made the rounds in the press and consultations to the government and industry, inflating the threat with claims that anthrax posed a greater potential threat than 9/11 and that bioterrorists could attack again and again with it, a process called “reloading.”
Bioterrorism “reloading” was also a potential scenario fast peddled by Tara O’Toole, a research scientist who made the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Biosecurity famous during the Bush administration. O’Toole is now a director at the Department of Homeland Security, a position that has required she keep her opinions on catastrophic bioterrorism out of the press.
Wrote Willman for the Times:
The anthrax letter attacks, Danzig wrote in his “Catastrophic Bioterrorism” paper, exposed national security vulnerabilities “greater than those associated with 9/11.” He argued that the country’s defenses were inadequate.
Doses of anthrax vaccine would have to be given weeks or months in advance of an attack. As for antibiotics, Danzig suggested that even a novice terrorist could “readily” make a resistant strain.
“Development of an antibiotic-resistant strain … is quite easy,” Danzig wrote. “Even at the high school level, biology students understand that an antibiotic-resistant strain can be developed.”
This is something beyond the capability of a high school student or even someone with graduate training.”
“It’s not a trivial endeavor,” Paul Keim, a Northern Arizona University geneticist and anthrax expert, told Willman.
“This is something beyond the capability of a high school student or even someone with graduate training.”
The entire piece on Richard Danzig is here at the Los Angeles Times.
Unfortunately, readers know from experience what always happens in cases such as this.
Nothing. Conflicts of interest are like bread on the table — the staff of life in the national security megaplex.
It doesn’t matter if important people in unique positions to make policy are involved in businesses that profit directly from their policy advice and lobbying. That is just the way things work in the United States.
Recently — on bioterror rent-seeking, penny-ante stuff at Soligenix, which is not worth even a tenth in market cap value of the government contract awarded to Human Genome.
The Washington Post did everyone a favor in publishing Jeff Nugent’s break with his famous brother on guns and the culture of the National Rifle Association over the weekend.
By dint of the Post’s publication it has been republished in many smaller newspapers around the country this morning.
Ted Nugent’s comeback was published by one of WhiteManistan’s many crank news sites, Newsmax.
At Newsmax, only the converts read Ted. But small newspaper publications guarantee many more Americans, from all sides, will see the opinion of his brother.
And that has to sting. Because Jeffrey Nugent’s opinion was gentlemanly and well-reasoned. Ted Nugent, on the other hand, rests his entire career on extremism and incivility. He’s very well known for regularly metaphorically recommending violent ends for enemies.
From a Beaumont, TX, newspaper’s blog:
Jeffrey Nugent asks,
Why would responsible gun owners want to protect people who threaten not only our safety but our gun rights?
People that leave guns unsecured in their house with their children.
Or buy a dangerous weapon dangerous weapon as a gift for a five year old.
Another problem associated with Nugent’s incivility is his inability in getting anyone interested in bankrolling a record for his art.
Ted Nugent built his old rockstar career on writing tunes about what he knew. That was mostly about screwing young women when he was still attractive enough to do it, and somewhat less about hunting and the call of the wild.
He can’t do that anymore. Hard rock music about lusting for women and having one’s way with them, when you look like this, is merely ludicrous. (Go ahead, click that link!)
And an album, with songs all about hunting, shooting and eating venison, has no chance, even in the oldies circuit.
To be a songwriter, it’s good to go with what you know.
What does Ted Nugent know well now? Hating on African Americans, Hispanics, gays, “hippies,” the president, liberals, moochers, the list goes on and on.
Overflowing with piss and venom, it would be a compelling collection. But no one would touch it with a ten foot pole.
I figured it all out for Ted a year or two ago. I saw where he was going if he played his pundit career to the maximum.
And this is the album I had him making:
A nod to his old song, “Stormtroopin,’” I described it here:
His great gift of expression is through guitar. But you will never see Ted compose an album of songs based on what he really thinks.
Moving a bit more slowly in the latest ricin case:
FBI spokeswoman Ayn Sandalo Dietrich would not say whether agents were questioning anyone in connection with the case.
“We are not actively looking for a subject,” Sandalo Dietrich said. “We are not asking the public’s help in bringing someone in.”
Despite the hazmat suits, officials said apartment residents were not at risk, and people were seen coming in and out of the brick building in the city’s historic Browne’s Addition neighborhood.
“There’s no public risk,” Sandalo Dietrich said.
Scott Ward has lived in the building for three years, and lives on the second floor near the apartment that was being searched. He said he does not know the neighbor who lives in that apartment.
“He’s a guy with a big beard,” Ward said. “He sticks to himself.”
The US government, at least parts of it, has finally modified its comments on ricin in letters, in the last two cases stating the castor powder did not pose a threat.
News stories report it. However, they still add that a small pure amount, something which has never existed in ricin cases, is still deadly if eaten or “inhaled.”
Analytically, what a castor powder mixture containing ricin looks like.
With only slight apologies to Faulkner.
Saw Star Trek: Into Darkness last night at the Pasadena Arclight.
It was not a sellout.
People in the Star Trek future are really nothing like the coming generations of Americans.
In Star Trek the communicators still look a lot like the old ones, not like smartphones.
If the medium-sized evening audience at the Arclight had been Star Fleet, Khan would have been victorious. While everyone was fidgeting, playing games and surfing the internet on their smartphones, he would have killed them all.
In Into Darkness, Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan primarily uses his flying fists, elbows and ruthlessness to beat virtually everyone senseless. He had no visible use for apps.
I liked his take on Khan, an interpretation that turned the character into a glowering action villain motivated almost entirely by revenge.
The tech nerd pest’s commonplace notion that an “app” is the answer to every problem in the world is a natural for our culture of lickspittles.
This week the perfect item for the progressive gadget nerd is Buycott, an app made in the child’s belief that the Koch Brothers can be undermined if we could just all check what products their multi-billion dollar business empire puts in supermarkets.
Fight back! Wave your Buycott equipped iJunk over the bar codes and don’t buy AngelSoft toilet paper people! That will fucking show them!
Soon they’ll be on their knees begging for mercy from Buycott’s 26 year-old free-lance programmer, Ivan Pardo.
With the Koch Brothers vanquished and the Citizens United decision only an unpleasant fading memory, the world will be at your swiping fingertip.
App developers will turn their attention to vanquishing all bad things through automated on-line petitioning and smartphone waving.
As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg solved the problem of global organ donation over a bottle of posh wine with his wife, so will apps available on iTunes do away with malaria, the need for 48 million Americans to be on foodstamps and the regime of Bashar Hafez Assad. (I even have a name for the last one: RUSyriass.)
With national deployment of Buycott the grip of corporate America will loosen and worker’s rights will undergo a new renaissance.
After Buycott is through with them the fourteen American multi-nationals that refuse to sign the Bangladesh Factory Safety Accord will rue the day they decided to keep making garments through cruel slave labor cutouts in foreign territories.
“Buycott is still working on adding new data to its back end and fine-tuning its information on corporate ownership structures,” reads one helpful piece at Forbes. “Most companies in the current database actually own more brands than Buycott has on record. The developers are asking shoppers to help improve their technology by inputting names of products they scan that the app doesn’t already recognize.”
Crowd-sourcing will triumph. Once the word is out, millions of users will see to it that Buycott’s database is complete, comprehensive and error free! Just like everything that’s done by flash mobs united by social technology.
Buycott! Buycott! Buycott!
“This thing is awesome,” reads one testimonial at the Apple shop. “It teaches you patience while you try to register 17 times.”
Just in from the wire, another castor seed kook:
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are executing a search warrant Saturday in the case of two letters containing the deadly poison ricin that were intercepted this week at a post office in Washington state.
Police say the investigation has focused on a neighborhood near downtown Spokane.
The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Spokane police are involved, but further details were not immediately available …
“The crude form of the ricin suggests that it does not present a health risk to U.S. Postal Service personnel or to others who may have come in contact with the letter,” the agency said in a news release Thursday.
Coming one month after the J. Everett Dutschke affair, it would seem to signify serious brain damage.
On the opinion page of the Washington Post: Jeffrey Nugent says his brother Ted Nugent is wrong on background checks.
I believe strongly that expanding and improving mandatory background checks will keep a lot of people who aren’t entitled to Second Amendment rights from having easy access to guns. As of today, a convicted felon can find a gun show or a private seller and buy a firearm without a background check. That loophole should be closed. Every gun transaction must include a thorough background check. Why would responsible gun owners want to protect people who threaten not only our safety but our gun rights?
The NRA has it wrong: Irresponsible gun owners are bad for everyone. If you shouldn’t have access to a gun, then there should be no way for you to access a gun! Can anyone argue with that?
Let’s see if the NRA and its new leaders step up and do what is right. If not, it will get done without them. We all have a role here, especially to protect our children. Who is going to be the voice for them?
This requires nothing less than a major culture shift. It’s been done before. We just have to do it again.
A philosophical shot across the bow.
Newton — Pine Grove Municipal Swimming Pool Splash Party, ca. ‘71-’72.
Taken by my father, George C. Smith, Jr., a Polaroid of my rock n roll band, Newton, at a Pine Grove swimming pool splash party. He could never get anything right, cutting his son almost entirely out of the picture. Did it occur to him to back up a couple steps or take an angle?
It’s the only thing left, besides some childhood books, of my old life in Pine Grove, PA. I’d forgotten about it until this week when I opened a trade paperback, bought a few years ago in Pasadena, and it fell out. I’d been using it as a bookmark. The polaroid is still nice and stiff after forty-some years.
Credits, from left to right, classmate Rodney Felty, Mike Pijar on drums, Ray Symons and me. Harry Brommer, an old friend and the pool’s handyman, built the stage we played on. Part of the reason we got the gig was because two of us were lifeguards AND I had a Fender Vibrolux Reverb amp. John Herber, the swimming pool supervisor had had a band in that played through Fender “reverb” amps the year before and liked the sound.
It was an uncharacteristically cool summer night and most of the audience did not swim at all.
Both my parents are dead now — George Jr., the keepsake photographer, and Mary Elizabeth Smith. The photo doesn’t make me miss them.
They had the good luck to be part of the time when the middle class was at its height in the USA. The first college graduates in their families, they found jobs straight out of Penn State, my father as an accountant for Alcoa Aluminum, my mother as a school teacher at Pine Grove Area.
They had no debt, lived in apartment for about one year before moving into a new home in the freshly-minted Legion Acres subdivision of the Pine Grove borough.
My mother was able to quit her career as a school teacher to have children and start it right up again a few years later, scarcely missing a beat. Alcoa Aluminum felt the early wave of the great de-industrialization of America and closed the largest extrusion plant in the world in Cressona, PA. My dad’s job was spared. He quickly transferred to a small bottlecap producing facility near Lancaster.
I visited it once, a pathetic place, mostly automated where you had to wear plastic ear plugs all day. Alcoa, it seemed, could still domestically make soda pop bottlecaps at a profit in the late Seventies.
I never liked my parents much. Besides the outward physical similarity in looks, I had nothing in common with them. They were mediocre. Although they had a good start they were ill-suited to raising children, mostly because they lacked empathy and warmth. They took what society and time gave them, doing just what everyone else they knew did.
That was OK. America is and was a huge country, one where you can’t have a vibrant civilization (which we don’t have) where everyone has to be at the very tip-top of the global totem pole in coveted skills.
They didn’t have to deal with the stupid lies we’re fed daily by the 1 percent and Tom Friedmans of the country. My parents thought the United States would always be the best place in the world. They were full of aphorisms about it.
“Time is money,” George Jr. always said, a lesson he learned from business. Yes, in corporate America your time is worth less and less money, maybe almost nothing.
Neither my father nor my mother liked writing, or music, or language and thought, or reading. (Paradoxically, my mother became a reading teacher later in her career. She did not read books and took mine when she needed to put something in her middle school classroom library.)
And they didn’t understand science at all although they believed it was very important I be trained as a scientist.
So as I got older the family disconnection always worsened. It was happening when I was playing guitar in Newton at the Pine Grove swimming pool.
Whose kid was I? Not theirs. We shared nothing, not a single blessed value. What, when, who or why? There were no answers.
So I’m looking at the swimming pool photo, again this week: Half-assed but good enough for three-quarters.
I’ve outlived the man who took it. My father died in the mid-Eighties, younger than I am now. Not a moment in our lives has been the same. DD came along a few years after he was gone. We would not have been pals.
Another ugly paradox: Corporate health care gave him the best benefits to be had, no questions asked. These kept him alive for five years after cancer struck. Congruent with modern America, I’ve had no health insurance for a number of years. Before that I had a program familiar to many, one that only pays for treatment of catastrophic illness, one that will eventually kill you. No treatments for the dozens of things people normally need to go to the doctor for.
This is what my parents had for life. It was not because they were spectacular examples of American exceptionalism, because they had some mythic work ethic, some always fresh and absolutely essential worth in the machine. It was because they came into the economic system before it had turned into a grinder that would gradually pit all against all. The country had enough leaders who believed a great society should not just be a matter of fortune at birth and root, hog or die.
You never can tell what an old photo will trigger in the head.
Something you miss? Or a distant condition already vanishing when the photo is taken, then quickly gone, the flickering half-life of a short-lived isotope, a fluke.
In the age of Google the memory of a family name is framed by the member who’s the best writer. Often not the person you want it to be.
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