Edgar Award winner and best selling author of true crime, mystery fiction, supernatural thrillers, and pop culture.
"Talented, Creative and Charming" -- Erin Moriarty, CBS 48hrs
"Burl Barer is one of my favorites!" -- Lis Wiehl, Fox News
There are no two sides to the debate over indefinitely detaining individuals without charge or trial.
Indefinite detention means allowing the government to imprison people for an unspecified period of time without charging them with a crime and without holding a trial.
That would fundamentally alter the character of our democracy. It would also gut the very meaning of the Fifth Amendment which guarantees due process. In short, it would be a human rights disaster.
According to an article in the Washington Post last week, a strategy is taking shape in the White House that would authorize indefinite detention -- not through legislation, but with a presidentially signed executive order. And just hours ago, the president's press secretary said they would now go through Congress. One thing is clear: the Obama administration is seeking the power to indefinitely detain individuals without charge or trial.
What is also clear is that whether through executive order or legislation, indefinite detention is un-American.
The vastly entertaining Johnny Fratto spent a thrill packed hour with Don Woldman and me live on Outlaw Radio's TRUE CRIMES last Saturday. If you are not familiar with Mr. Fratto, I suggest you check out links to his life, career and accomplishments!
The book is great, and Randazzo is a cool guy with great connections and an intresting perspective. He was our guest Saturday on TRUE CRIMES. If you missed the show, also featuring Kenny Gallo, the former mobster who was undercover 7 years for the FBI, you can listen to it via instant replay from either TRUE CRIMES or OUTLAW RADIO (True Crime Show).
"Ring of Hell" is the true story of Chris Benoit's journey through the destructive, dysfunctional, and bizarre pro wrestling industry, and the catastrophic physical and mental breakdown that led to his grisly end.
In June of 2007, the professional wrestling community was rocked by the suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit, after murdering his wife and seven-year-old son. In this wide-ranging expose, crime reporter Randazzo demonstrates that, among professionals driven to incredible levels of steroid, drug and alcohol abuse, Benoit was not unique. Benoit spent years in Canada and Japan enduring training that bordered on the medieval, eagerly employing steroids to achieve the industry's standard physique. As his star rose, so did the injuries and the chemicals; Benoit's signature move, a flying headbutt, was responsible for countless concussions. Culminating in a 2001 spinal injury that left him at risk of permanent paralysis, Benoit, like many other wrestlers, treated himself with copious doses of painkillers before returning to work for more punishment. Combined with a crumbling marriage, Benoit's life became a perfect storm of mental and physical anguish; unfortunately, Randazzo's broad biographical strokes (he saves details for pivotal matches) and wide focus on the industry's evolution make Benoit little more than a minor character in his own story. Wrestling fans will savor the industry gossip, but those interested in the how and why of Benoit's tragic murder-suicide will be disappointed.
WAIT! There's more! Also with us LIVE in the Lounge is Kenny Gallo "Kenji" Gallo
Recently I began a project that highlights "The New Americans" -- immigrants who, as American citizens, exemplify the best there is about America and the values we hold dear.
An outstanding example is Mr. Mike Timen of North Hollywood, famous in his homeland for his remarkable accomplishments in the highly competitive and demanding world of Greco-Roman Wrestling. This man has drive and determination. These qualities, plus his remarkable physical prowess, won him the Ukrainian.National Championship.
Here is a man who came to America from Russia with a work ethic second to none, a variety of important skills, and a willingness to acquire as many skills as possible. What makes Timen such an exemplary American is that he embodies all the qualities, attributes and attitudes that are so vital to our country's character.
His hard work and savvy business acumen has never prevented him from showing forth true generosity and compassion for the less fortunate, the stranger, traveler, or those who have recently arrived in their new home -- America. I've seen him take into his personal residence, as short term guests, those who otherwise would be on the street, giving them the necessary stability to re-focus and set a course for self-sufficiency. Timen has, with his own hands, served home made food to those who had no home and no food, asking nothing in return. Having lived through hard times, Timen understands the difference between those who have their hands out, and those who could use a helping hand and an encouraging word.
So impressed was I with Mike Timen, that when I recently returned to Los Angeles, I stopped by to see the man some might describe as a robust masculine Mother Teresa, a Russian Jew with the compassion of Jesus, the integrity of Moses, and the diplomacy of Muhammad. In these tough economic times, I figured Timen would be devoting his energy to helping even more people than usual. Instead, I found him preoccupied and a bit downhearted.
"What's the problem, Mike," I asked. He handed me a sheaf of papers documenting a never ending cycle of repetitive inspections -- inspections that required Timen make physical alterations to his little hostel, get more permits, pay more fees. That would be perfectly reasonable if it were not for one blatantly obvious fact: They were trying to play him for a fool. He was actually issued a notice ddemanding that he repaira pot hole in Tajunga Avenue—a city street. That was the one that hurt the most – the message being, "we think you are so stupid that we can charge you fines and fees for anything we can make up." Happily, Timen knew the difference between a major public thoroughfare and his personal property. He won that round, but the cycle of repeated inspections and more suspect fees continues.
Hardship in Russia didn't break his spirit. Religious persecution didn't lesson his resolve. Thrilled and proud to be an American, he told me last year that America is the greatest country in the world, and Los Angeles is the best place to live in all the USA. Today, he must face the tragic realization that while he loved Los Angeles, it never loved him back. He has learned that the home of the brave doesn't pin medals on street corner humanitarians, it sends them never ending notices of fees, fines, and deadlines -- even for things that are not within his sphere of influence.
Some call it "white noise" -- background sounds that facillitate the production of alpha brain wave levels conducive to creativity. Someone even came up with a special CD especially for writers that, according to the press release, enhances creative output. Uh-huh. Reminds me of the lady who ran out and bought a candle to stimulate wealth. It worked. The moment she bought the candle, the store made money.
I prefer running movies while I write. Nothing too demanding, and preferably something I've seen many times before so I don't actually have to look at it to know what's going on. When I was living in Walla Walla, and writing Headlock: A Jeff Reynolds Mystery, my "office" was in the basement. In front of my desk was an open are facing a Quasar TV with VCR. My son Jordan would come down and "together" we would watch movies while I wrote. We must have watched THE FAN, starring Wesley Snipes and Robert DeNiro 17 times.
I recently was asked "what is your favorite movie?" That is an impossible question to answer. "What are your favorite movies" is another one that I can't answer in full. Right now, while typing this, I'm "watching" LOVE AND DEATH IN LONG ISLAND. Yes, I saw it years ago, and I still find it remarkably clever and endearing.
It is 6:10am, and I've been working on a non-fiction project that is so heartbreaking, I need a break from the hearbreak of inhuman cruelty.
A few years ago, I spent four months learning how to recline on a couch and watch a movie without feeling guilty for being "selfish" and "wasting time" when I "Should" be writing. I'm going to recline on the couch and actually watch this movie before taking my morning nap.
I get kick out of twitter, although I had to nuke some dude who flooded me with non-stop Tweets that were nothing but links to his products. Hell, he didn't even say "I just ate cornflakes" before posting the link to his real estate seminars.
Sure, I use Twitter to let folks know when I have posted another brilliant feature to IN COLD BLOG, have confirmed a new guest for my award winning TRUE CRIMES radio show, or to announce my appearance on an upcoming episode of SNAPPED.
Some folks are remarkably adept at using Twitter for connecting with fans, future fans, and making sales. There are all manner of special interest Tweets, and you can always count on the "Adult" Industry to be in the advance guard of any medium. If it were not for adult films, you wouldn't have VCR, DVD, or other such advancements. They didn't create the technology, but they were brave enough to use it. This is why one prominent video magazine refused to stop carrying adverts for XXX films when their competitors stopped accepting them. They stated quite simply that to do so would be an insult to the pioneers of home video. I'm not suggesting that you become a big fan of XXX video, or run out and buy several "adult" DVD collections, but I do believe in being honest about history. Such things as air brushing away FDR's cigarette, or the one in Paul McCartney's hand in the Beattles' poster is too Orwelian for a liberal such as I.
I will continue to Tweet, blog, Facebook etc...as long as I don't forget that my primary obligation behind this keyboard is to write books, film treatments and other income producing creative material.
Jayla Starr, an adult performer who is also an avid reader (guess they have time to read between those elaborate set-ups) occasionally films her "adventures" not far from me in Woodland Hills. She Tweets with a vengence, and for someone in a career with a short earning window, I hope she does well so she can retire early and open a Dairy Queen franchise, Family Guy Museum, or head shop.
Now, if you will excuse me, I must go Tweet that my guest Saturday on True Crimes is Robin Sax of the L.A.Prosecutors Office, an author of that new book about protecting your kids from molestors.