Sunday, August 29, 2010

Why Paris Hilton Must Be Put To Death

THIS GIRL'S GOT SOME SET OF BALLS ON HER [and, this time, not on her chin]: Would you believe this is the pose billionaire fauxlebrity Paris Hilton struck the other night in her mug shot? For that alone, death is probably warranted.

Believe it or not, some good can come out of Paris Hilton's latest intrusion into our lives [in case you hadn't heard, the multi-billion dollar receptacle for semen was busted for cocaine the other night]: we can kill her now. Granted, that may seem a bit harsh for a cocaine violation. Still, because it is more serious than the booze and pot she's been busted for before, an argument could be made that heroin and crack can only be around the corner for this stupid bitch, so we might as well kill her now.

On a larger scale, though, there is a real benefit to ending the life this bimbo has wasted with 29 years of vapidness: it may, in fact, be our last best chance to end this nearly 15-year scourge of 'reality'-based entertainment that threatens to send us back into becoming a pack of savages that beats each other with sticks and points up at the sky in horror at the sun, thinking it is a giant yellow monster. Yes, killing Paris Hilton might be our last chance to save us from that future.

How would putting Hilton to death kill 'reality'-based entertainment? Well, for the message it would send. For too long, fellow fauxlebrities - people who are famous for absolutely no discernible reason - have looked at what Hilton has done and sought to emulate it. And who could blame them? Hilton went from being just another teenage billionaire cunt who - despite her wealth - still had to wait in line with the rest of the other rich people waiting to get a table at Nobu, and became someone who made herself a household name/face that never had to wait for anything again. She could go on David Letterman, say nothing and get skewered by Letterman while having absolutely no clue as to what he was saying, and only get more famous. She was a trailblazer - not just for other rich kids living off dead relatives' money - but for people with a lot less money than she had when she became famous.

As a fauxlebrity, Hilton made her own rules [namely, she had none], went where she wanted, when she wanted, and with whom she wanted - using whatever she wanted [booze, drugs, etc] along the way. She became so famous that - even though her wealth was beyond anything imaginable - she stopped having to pay for anything because people wanted her at their parties, at the their restaurants, at their clubs, etc.

What made it even more enticing to other would-be fauxlebrities was that she suffered no consequences. None. Even when she violated parole on drunk driving charges and was sentence to 45 days in prison [she served only 27], she emerged from it more famous, more in demand and more obnoxious than ever.

Because of Paris Hilton, we've been victimized by people whose names you - and more importantly, I - should not know. These include but are in no way limited to: Tila Tequila, Heidi Montag, Kim Kardashian, Brooke Hogan, and Kate Gosselin, Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard and Octomom. Now, c'mon: you sit there and tell me with a straight face that your life wouldn't be more fulfilling with those assholes out of your head.

If we execute Paris Hilton now, do you think any of the above mentioned assholes would ever dare allow themselves to be photographed on a red carpet for absolutely no reason at all? Do you think Kardashian would risk having her homemade porn movies 'leak' out into the Internet [setting porn back about 30 years, by the way]? Do you think people like Jon and Kate Gosselin or Octomom would ever again dare to procreate in an effort to become famous? Would douchebags like Richard and Mayumi Heene have the temerity to put other lives in danger by faking a story of their son accidentally taking off in a balloon? Would scumbags like Tareq and Michaele Salahi try to breach the security of the White House in the middle of two wars by rubbing elbows with the President of the Untied States?

....uh, well, you're right: they probably still would. But at least with the precedent of putting Paris Hilton to death we'd now have a way of getting rid of all of them.

Then maybe, just maybe, people can become famous again for actually doing something.

DISCLAIMER:In no way shape or form am I advocating the execution of Paris Hilton, or any other person on Earth. Lest anyone be confused by this post and take it into their feeble minds to actually try to kill any of these folks, please remember this is satire. If you are a maniac susceptible to hearing voices or doing stupid things, please unsubscribe from this blog. Oh, and another thing: I realize the above disclaimer might seem hypocritical [i.e. 'I don't advocate the execution of any other person on Earth'], since I constantly call for the death of all terrorists. You're wrong, though, there's no discrepancy at all: while disagreeable and annoying, I'm about 93% certain that Paris Hilton is still a human being. Terrorists, however, are not. Therefore, ispo fatso as Archie Bunker would say, there's no hypocrisy in my statement.

copyright 2010 by EBBP Redux. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than EBBP Redux or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two and a Half Maniacs

DROPS OF JUPITER: The lovely mug shot of Charlie Sheen (above) shortly after his Christmas Day 2009 arrest for domestic violence.

When that idiot Charlie Sheen was arrested last Christmas for pulling a near-O.J. [slang for pulling a knife and placing it at your wife's throat while threatening to kill her], all could agree [well, all except the Hollywood community that continued to embrace him] that he should be shunned from society and exiled to Elba or somewhere.

Well, now that the police incident filed that day has been released, Sheen comes off no less repugnant, but we can come to another conclusion: his wife should join him in Elba. It is clear that both of these two are certifiable and almost certainly deserve each other. This is in no way to justify what Sheen did, nor to condone in the slightest domestic violence no matter how little your wife listens to you [that's a cheap joke, folks].

It is, however, worth noting that while Sheen is a malcontent who frequents prostitutes, enjoys dating porn stars and displays all of the responsibility-traits of a serial killer, the incident on Christmas Day may not have played out exactly the way we were all lead to believe.

Sheen had a very interesting conversation with the arresting officer. Officer Rick Magnuson describes in the report how he entered the home to find Sheen's wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen sobbing uncontrollably. Mueller told Magnuson that Charlie Sheen [or, Carlos Irwin Estevez, as he is referred to in the report; below I substitute 'Sheen' because I kept thinking, 'What the hell is Emilio Estevez doing in this story?'] was upstairs with a knife. When Magnuson went to the stairs and called up, identifying himself as a police officer, Sheen came downstairs with his hands in the air.

While another officer - Casey Ward - interviewed Mueller, Magnuson asked Sheen to speak with him downstairs in the basement, to which sheen readily agreed. According to Magnuson's report, Charlie Sheen told the officer that the fight between he and his wife started with an argument over "a song with a daughter, whom [Sheen] fathered with another woman. [Sheen] further explained that he and the daughter share an affinity for both astronomy and the song 'Drops of Jupiter' from the band 'Train.'" According to Sheen, this affinity is what initially set Mueller off. According to the report, "Mueller was jealous of this relationship with his
daughter. He stated that Mueller said, 'you have a song you share with your
daughter, but not one with me.'" If true, this is probably all the confirmation a jury would need to have Mueller committed to a mental institution along with her husband.

After recovering from the shock of this explanation for the origin of the argument, Magnuson asked Sheen, "if he struck or pushed Mueller. [Sheen] denied pushing
or striking Mueller. [Sheen] added that during this argument, Mueller became
irate, threatening to divorce him and take the children away. [Sheen] stated
that Mueller said, 'I'm calling Troup (a divorce attorney) and you will never
see your kids again.' [Sheen] stated that he became very upset with this threat
because of past experiences."

And God knows Sheen has had past experiences with the law. Indeed, things got a bit humorous when Magnuson asked Sheen for an ID. As Sheen handed Magnuson the ID he told the officer nonchalantly, "'It's fake, I had it made from someone on the set after I lost the real one.'"

By this point, Magnuson heard from the Officer Ward, who had been questioning Mueller. "I learned from Officer Ward that Mueller accused [Sheen] of strangling her, putting a pocket-type knife to her throat and threatening to kill her. Officer Ward added that he observed red marks around Mueller's throat, consistent with a strangulation attempt. Officer Ward also advised me that Mueller claimed that [Sheen] had harmed her in the past."

With that information, Magnuson went back to question Sheen. "I asked [Sheen] if he attempted to strangle Mueller or placed a knife near her throat. [Sheen] denied threatening Mueller with a knife or strangling her. I asked ]Sheen] if he ever harmed Mueller in the past. [Sheen] stated that approximately two months ago, in California, Mueller accused him of sleeping with prostitutes. [Sheen] stated that he denied this allegation, which escalated into a 'huge fight.' He added that when Mueller attempted to leave the argument, he grabbed her by the wrist, causing her to fall to the ground. [Sheen] added that Mueller hit the back of her head on a piece of furniture as she fell to the ground. [Sheen] stated that Mueller was injured when her head contacted the furniture." Ah, yes, the domestic abuser's best friend: the 'hit the back of her head on a piece of furniture' excuse.

By this point - clearly confused as to whether he was talking to an abuser or a guy married to a lunatic - Magnuson turned his attention to the alleged weapon. Magnuson asked Sheen if he did really have a knife. Sheen, "stated that he had a folding knife in his travel bag, which was near the upstairs bedroom. We went upstairs to the hallway outside the bedroom where the altercation occurred. I
observed two black Prada bags in the hallway, approximately six feet from the
bed. [Sheen] reached into the larger travel bag and I observed a dark colored
knife with an approximate four inch blade, which was in the open position. [Sheen] took the knife from the bag, laying it on the floor where I retrieved it. I attempted to close the knife and found it to be in the locked position."

Magnuson noticed something else: two pairs of broken eye glasses. When Magnuson asked Sheen what had happened, the actor - as calmly and rationally as if he was explaining how he'd gone out in the morning to bring in the paper - told Magnuson, "that he took two of Mueller's eyeglasses and broke them in front of her. He demonstrated this by making a breaking gesture with his hands. He added that after breaking the eyeglasses he threw them on the floor of the bedroom." At that point in the report, Magnuson makes one of the oddest segues in the history of police reporting. After writing how Sheen just broke his wife's glasses, Magnuson felt compelled to add that Sheen "was cooperative, forthcoming and polite during my conversation." A polite maniac, that's nice.

That Sheen is a maniac was confirmed shortly thereafter when Magnuson compared notes with Officer Valerie McFarlane, who'd joined Officer Ward in interviewing Mueller. According to the report, Mueller told Sheen was leaving him, seeking a divorce and taking their children [although, the report states the Mueller's exact words were the loving expression, "you'll never see the fucking kids again!"].

Mueller told the officer that Sheen went nuts at this. According to the report, Sheen "grabbed Mueller by the upper part of the throat while straddling her as she lay supine on the bed. Mueller added that [Sheen] then pulled out a knife, holding it to her throat and saying, 'You better be in fear. If you tell anybody, I'll kill you. Your mother's money means nothing, I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done and they won't leave any trace'." Presumably, these are the same ex-police that O.J. said were hired by someone to kill Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

After Officer McFarlane showed Magnuson the pictures she had taken of Mueller - which showed "obvious reddening around her throat and a scratch on her arm, between the wrist and elbow" - Magnuson went to see for himself. When he approached Mueller, he could see that she had red marks on her neck "consistent with a strangulation attempt. I asked Mueller if this was normal and she stated that it was not; adding that [Sheen] caused the marks on her neck while he was holding her down on the bed with his hand."

Mueller went on to explain what happened next: according to her, Sheen, "placed a medium sized folding knife, blade exposed, next to her throat, while he straddled her torso on the bed. Mueller told me that she was afraid she was going to die at that moment, adding that she was unable to get up while [Sheen's] other hand was around her throat and his weight on her torso. Mueller demonstrated this incident by lying on her back, on the bed; she placed one hand around her throat and the other was near her neck, mimicking the holding of a knife, with the point aimed at her neck."

Before arresting Sheen, Magnuson asked her about the prior incident of which he'd spoken to Sheen, where Mueller had hit her head. "I told Mueller that I confronted [Sheen] about the incident; adding that [Sheen] claimed that Mueller's injury was inadvertent. This upset Mueller; she was very adamant that [Sheen] intentionally hurt her by throwing her to the ground, like a 'rag doll.' Mueller added that [Sheen] did not want to report the incident to the police. Mueller added that she saw three doctors in California for her head injury. She stated that the injury was
diagnosed as a 'closed head injury'."

The report does have its humorous moments. For instance, it was not just Sheen and Mueller in the house. There were others. Including someone that, I'm sure, all of us having living at our homes. "I also interviewed Kathleen Marie Conway (DOB 11/27/1961). Conway was a guest at the rental home and serves as the sobriety life-coach for Mueller and [Sheen]." Right, like you don't have a sobriety life-coach at home.

Conway did add some color to the details of the incident. "Conway stated that she heard yelling upstairs and went to the upstairs bedroom. She observed [Sheen] in the doorway and Mueller in the bed. Mueller saw Conway at the door and screamed, 'He held a knife to my throat for an hour. I want a divorce. Call Troup & Troup [the attorneys].' [Sheen] yelled back, 'You're not gonna fucking do that. I'm texting my attorney right now and I'll file first.'"

Of course, Conway was not the only guest, either. Hell, she wasn't even the only sobriety coach in the house. Officers also interviewed Sammy Kent, a 'sobriety assistant' Sheen had just met a few days earlier. "Kent explained that [Sheen] hired Kent to counsel him while in Aspen over the holidays. [Sheen] wanted to be sober during this time." Kent said that over the three days he'd observed Sheen, the actor did not appear to be boozing. "Kent said [Sheen] had been doing fine and was sober. Kent said on 12/24/09 at about 10 PM, Conway had learned that Mueller had taken one of [Sheen's] Gabapentin pills. Kent explained Gabapentin is a medication that helps people deal with the desires to drink alcohol. He said it's actually an anti-seizure
medication but also curbs the appetite for alcohol. Kent said Mueller had told Conway she stole this pill from [Sheen]." Ozzie and Harriet these two ain't.

Although, let's face it: The Charlie and Brooke Show would be a helluva lot more entertaining.

copyright 2010 by EBBP Redux. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than EBBP Redux or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mrs. Thomas' Long Week

Elvis Aaron Presley - January 8, 1935-August 16, 1977


Beginning 33 years ago today - early in the evening - Mrs. Thomas took to her room after crying out, quickly calling her mother and telling her to, "get the hell over here" and plopping her 8-year old son in front of the television to await his grandmother's arrival. Mrs. Thomas didn't come out of her room the rest of the night. Nor did she come out the next day. Nor the following day, either. It was only on the fourth day after the sudden death of her beloved Elvis that she emerged finally emerged. Her hair was a tangled mess. Her eyes were red with traces of days-old mascara running up and down her cheeks. She showered, got something to eat, and returned to her room for two more days before emerging.

I know this because I was an 8-year old witness to much of it. On the evening of August 16, 1977, I was watching television when CBS News ran one of their 30-second national news briefs. A photo of Elvis Presley was in the upper right corner of the screen as the anchor - probably Roger Mudd or maybe Morton Dean - said something to the effect of, "Reaction continues to roll in from around the globe as news of the death of Elvis Presley today at the age of 42 has brought a throng of thousands of grieving fans to his home in Memphis..." I remember turning to my mother and saying, "Mrs. Thomas is going to be in trouble."

I was friends with Mrs. Thomas' son, who lived across the street from our first floor duplex apartment. It was from my friend and his mother that I first learned about Matchbox cars, NASCAR racing and Elvis Presley. Shortly after the Thomas' moved in I was invited over to play. In a tour of the apartment - which took about 7 seconds, although at the time I was too young to know that we were just barely making enough income so that we were always just a little bit behind - I saw an enormous portrait hanging over Mrs. Thomas' bed. "Who is that?!?" I said to my friend. I heard a gasp from behind me, where Mrs. Thomas must've have overheard me. If I'd have said the same thing about the enormous portrait handing across from Mrs. Thomas' bed - that of Jesus Christ - she would not have been as upset with me. "Who is that Evil?!?! That is Elvis Presley! How have you gotten this old [seven, at the time] not knowing Elvis?!?!" Ok, so she didn't call me 'Evil' - although no doubt she called me worse over the years. Other than that, though, that's pretty much what she said.

I'd put that about mid-1976. Over the next year or so, then, it was rare for me to be over the Thomas' apartment and not hear Elvis on the stereo, or see Elvis on the TV - as the Thomas' were the first people I ever knew with a VCR. Which is funny because they had no more of a pot to piss in than we did, yet there was this incredibly expensive primitive video player. Might not have been called a VCR, as I don't remember any tapes. Anyway, Mrs. Thomas had every single one of Elvis' movies - whatever format it was in - and they were always on.

I remember not liking the movies terribly much - even at that age I realized it was essentially Elvis Presley playing himself in some unrealistic setting like Hawaii or a 19th century western town. The music, though. Well, the music was incredible. I can't tell you the first song I heard, but the one that I remembered liking immediately was "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck". Just a great tune, with every element of Presley's talents all over it. Never liked 'Heartbreak Hotel' [still don't]. But all of the others I soon knew pretty well. It became 'normal' to see the large bust of Elvis that rested on Mrs. Thomas' bureau, not to mention that painting, and just accept the fact that Elvis was that important that of course you'd have a bust and portrait of him in your house, you idiot. It was vintage 1970s, in retrospect: I swear that damned painting was on a velour canvas. I just remember it was fuzzy to the touch [although we never let Mrs. Thomas know we touched the damned thing, believe you me].

So it was on that mid-August night 33 years ago that I saw what was going on there on the TV and told my mother that Mrs. Thomas was going to be in trouble. What I meant, of course, was that she was going to be a holy emotional fucking wreck. I just didn't know some of those words at the time, so 'in trouble' was my way of saying, 'she's going to be majorly fucked up by this news, mother.'

And, indeed, she was. It was too late to walk across the street to check on my friend and Mrs. Thomas - at least that's what I remember my mother telling me. I remember looking at the window across the street at the Thomas' second-floor apartment front window. The room was black but I could see the neon-like images of what was the television screen in the living room. By that time, I figured out later, Mrs. Thomas had plopped my friend in front of the TV and retired to her room. The next day, early, I walked over and sure enough there was my friend and his none-too-happy grandmother. She, no doubt, figured her days of raising an 8-year old had long passed.

I asked my friend's grandmother how Mrs. Thomas was doing. "Not good," said his grandmother. "She's crazy. She wasn't this upset when her father died." Just then, I vaguely remembered one time when I overheard Mrs. Thomas calling her father something along the lines of a 'lazy, no-good boozing prick'. I chose not to share that with my friend's grandmother that morning. At first, I was scared for my friend. I could hear Mrs. Thomas crying in her room over the sounds of Elvis' music. My friend and I went out to play [back in those days, 'what are your kids doing this summer?' meant that moms across the country simply opened their front doors, turned to their off-spring and lovingly said, 'Get out!']. We came back for lunch and the soundtrack - Mrs. Thomas' shrieking with Elvis providing back-up - were still going strong. Same thing at dinner. By this point, my friend's grandmother looked like she wanted to strangle her daughter but was afraid to open the door to her room to begin doing so.

The next day, when it continued, I remember asking my friend what he thought of all of this. How did he feel about Elvis' death? "He's Elvis, man," my friend said. "He's Elvis and he's dead. It's too weird." That was about as introspective as we two 8-year olds got that summer. When, about a week later, Mrs. Thomas was well enough to go back to work and slowly resume what now seems, in retrospect, to have been a very sad and mundane life raising a son as a single parent, I noticed that more Elvis memorabilia had somehow been acquired. Maybe it'd always been there and I'd never noticed it. More likely, Mrs. Thomas had instructed her mother to bring the stuff with her, as her mother still lived in the house where Mrs. Thomas grew up a young girl in love with the 1950s Elvis.

Over the years, I've encountered others who had a similar Elvis-worship. While I thought the Elvis portrait Mrs. Thomas possessed had to be a one-of-a-kind, amazingly a few years later I saw the same damned thing over another friend's mother's bed - no lie. I guess that was the painting you put over your bed. While I encountered other Elvis-worshippers, Mrs. Thomas is the one I recall most vividly simply because she was the only one I witnessed suffering in the aftermath of Elvis' actual death.

As I say, the music was something I dug right away, and always have. Throughout my life, I've maintained that if you don't like Elvis, and you are American, then there is something very, very wrong with you. In your soul, I mean. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's my blog. Elvis is so quintessentially American, that to not like the music [hey, I agree: the movies suck], the persona, Graceland, etc, meant that somehow you'd missed the whole point of America. At least as it existed in the second half of the 20th century. I can't quite explain why - in words - that I feel that way. It just is.

So, today, on the 33rd anniversary of The King's death, I think of him and his music. I think of Mrs. Thomas, too. All of these years later - assuming she's still alive - I wonder if this day still fills her with the kind of grief it did back then - the shock of it aside, of course. Now that I'm just one fucking year younger than Elvis was when his head hit that porcelain toilet as his heart finally gave out, I still love the music, and the persona [the movies still suck, though]. I also still think that Elvis is as quintessentially American as any other icon of the 20th century. That he'd only be 75 years old also reminds me just how young he was when he died.

And, just how young I was, too.

copyright 2009, 2010 by EBBP Redux. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than EBBP Redux or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Nixon's The One

Air Force General John D. Lavelle (right) [here standing next to one of the greatest haters of the 20th century, Sen. John Stennis (D, Miss.)] made the rounds of the Senate in 1972, hoping to defend himself against charges of violating orders in the case of stepped-up bombings in North Vietnam.

As a history professor, and one who specializes in American history, the enigma that was Richard Nixon has always fascinated me. Perhaps no one captured Nixon better than the late Stephen Ambrose, in his three-volume biography of Nixon. The narcissism, paranoia, hubris, genius, and downright confounding riddle that was Nixon is brilliantly captured by Ambrose, and I highly recommend the trilogy to anyone interested in learning about Nixon. Actually, Nixon could have learned a lot about himself by reading the books.

Recently, one of those facets of Nixon's personality - perhaps more than one - revealed itself. It involves the name and reputation of a man dead 31 years now. His name was Air Force General John D. Lavelle.

Days before Nixon's plumbers broke into the Watergate hotel - bringing about the crisis of Nixon's abbreviated second term - the crisis of the first Nixon term dominated the news: Vietnam. By that summer of 1972, Lavelle's name and reputation had been thoroughly skewered thanks to numerous investigations by the Pentagon and Congress into 'unauthorized' bombings in North Vietnam. In the end, all of the investigations pointed to one thing: Lavelle - a four-star commander - had ordered the North Vietnamese bombings, and then tried to cover them up. His punishment was to be demoted to major general and forced into early retirement.

At the time - and until his death in 1979 - Lavelle maintained a stoic defense, saying he was acting on orders. No one believed him and he died with that blemish on his name, reputation and military career.

Now - 38 years later - we learn that he was telling the truth when he said he was following orders. As often happens in such cases, the government now says a Gilda Radner-like "Never mind", restores Lavelle's military rank and the man has his reputation back posthumously. Gee, thanks.

What does this have to do with Richard Nixon? Well, it turns out that the 38th President of the United States knew damned well that Lavelle was following orders. He knew for one very good reasons: he was the one who'd given the orders. And yet Nixon lifted not one pinky finger to help Lavelle. Granted, it would have been a political disaster for Nixon to make an admission he had ordered the bombings in North Vietnam. Indeed, while Nixon could have personally murdered someone on live television and still defeated his 1972 Democratic opponent, Sen. George McGovern [SD], an admission that Nixon was behind the bombings almost certainly would have destroyed Nixon's second term before Watergate had the opportunity to do so. Because of that reality, Nixon did nothing to clear Lavelle.

How do we know this? From an exhaustive reexamination of Lavelle's actions,thanks to historical records unearthed by accident. That evidence shows that Lavelle was indeed acting on orders to conduct the bombing missions and that the orders came from Nixon himself [although Lavelle went to his grave never knowing that they came directly from Nixon].

The proof of this - or one piece of evidence pointing to the truth - comes from transcripts of recorded Oval Office conversations, i.e. the Nixon tapes. The tapes demonstrate that - not only did Nixon give the secret orders, but that he stood by, as Lavelle suffered as the scapegoat.

To be fair, Nixon actually agonized over his silence. "I just don't want [Lavelle] to be made a goat, goddamnit," Nixon told National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, on June 14, 1972. This was three days before the ill-fated Watergate break-in, and just a few days after it was disclosed that Lavelle had been demoted for the allegedly unauthorized attacks. Nixon went on to tell Kissinger, "You, you destroy a man's career. . . . Can we do anything now to stop this damn thing?" Then, June 26th, Nixon had another conversation with Kissinger. "Frankly, Henry, I don't feel right about our pushing [Lavelle] into this thing and then, and then giving him a bad rap. I don't want to hurt an innocent man."

Despite this Hamlet-worthy soliloquy, however, Nixon was unwilling to stand up publicly for the general. Five months before facing the voters, Nixon wasn't about to admit that he had secretly given permission to escalate bombing in North Vietnam.

Nixon took it a step further, blatantly lying at a June 29th news conference. When he was asked about Lavelle's case and the airstrikes Nixon said, "[The bombing decision] wasn't authorized. It was proper for [Lavelle] to be relieved and retired."

While Lavelle took responsibility for the military consequences of the bombings, he said they were justified to protect U.S. air patrols and surveillance missions over North Vietnam. Lavelle insisted that he never exceeded his authority. He said he was following rules of engagement communicated to him by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington as well as by Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird and Gen. Creighton Abrams. Like Nixon, those men did nothing to save Lavelle. "It is not pleasant to contemplate ending a long and distinguished military career with a catastrophic blemish on my record," Lavelle told Congress in 1972, "a blemish for conscientiously doing the job I was expected to do."

The saga of the truth about Lavelle began in 2007, when Aloysius Casey, a retired Air Force general, and his son, Patrick Casey, began research for an article both were writing for Air Force Magazine about the Lavelle case. While researching a biography about a different Air Force commander, the Caseys came across audio recordings of Nixon's conversations as well as now-declassified message traffic from the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The material, they concluded, showed that Lavelle had "unequivocal authorization" from Nixon and senior military officials to conduct the North Vietnam airstrikes in late 1971 and early 1972.

The Caseys presented their findings to Lavelle's widow, Mary Jo, now 91-years old. They also told the couple's seven children. The family retained the younger Casey, a Pennsylvania lawyer, to help them ask the Air Force to reopen the case and restore Lavelle to the rank of full general.

The Lavelles applied to the Air Force Board for the Correction of Military Records. Surprisingly, the board endorsed Lavelle's exoneration in 2009. That decision was separately upheld by Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. Finally, on August 4, 2010, President Obama gave his support as well. The case will now go to the Senate for final approval.

"Jack was a good man, a good husband, a good father, and a good officer," Mary Jo Lavelle said in a statement to the Washington Post. "I wish he was alive to hear this news."

Air Force officials said the Lavelle family does not stand to benefit financially from his posthumous promotion because - although he was demoted - military personnel rules in effect at the time enabled Lavelle to retire with a full pension.

With Senate confirmation, he will now have his full reputation back as well. While Nixon's reputation takes yet another - well-deserved - hit.

copyright 2010 by EBBP Redux. If you are reading this on a blog or website other than EBBP Redux or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.