A century later, justice for the family of Tom Joyner.

If you don’t know who Tom Joyner is, take a listen to his wildly popular, nationally syndicated radio show. I’ve been listening to him since the early 90s.

His two great uncles were wrongfully executed for the 1913 murder of a Confederate soldier and given the electric chair. Seems they had the wrong guys. This past week, the state of South Carolina officially pardoned the two wrongfully executed men, giving Joyner’s family the peace they so richly deserved.

Interestingly enough, Joyner did not know of the wrongful death until Skip Gates (White House beer and “teaching moment”) told him of the story.


Lavinia Masters is one incredible woman.

I have so much praise for this woman and her fortitude. Keep going! Read about her story here.

It’s the sad truth that the statute of limitations has run out on her case, ergo, they cannot prosecute her now positively identified attacker. Perhaps we should strengthen THOSE laws if we are finally going to get to the millions of DNA samples that have been languishing. If we get to them quicker, we’ll be able to prosecute more cases, imprison more perpetrators and free those wrongfully accused. If we have a combined effort of testing the samples faster and lengthening the SOL’s, we could have some measure of success in the middle. Alas, we’ve got a long way to go.

We have the technology! Press on, Lavinia!

Have you survived trauma? You need this book.

We are trying to make this blog more about helping people than about highlighting the flaws of our justice system – which is also helping people!

That said, I was given a book that changed my life. Click here to order “Invisible Heroes”. This book is terrific for anyone who has survived war, violence, sexual assault, a horrific accident, witnessing any of the above, a traumatic divorce, physical or mental abuse of any kind. You suffer from trauma if you have panic attacks, pain, flashbacks, PTSD, nightmares, etc. Trauma remains trapped in the body unless it is freed from the mind. This book is not meant as a panacea, but as a way to kick start your healing.

It will make you see that you need not suffer. It’s a groundbreaking book in that there is really nothing out there like it. The author, Belleruth Naparstek, is a therapist who works with guided imagery and the left brain theory. It really opened my eyes. Be well.

I survived. I thrived.

Last year, I was thinking about this. This year, it was there, a little fuzzier, but still lurking with cold, dead fingers dancing across my brain. It just IS. I kept looking at the clock, cradling my newborn and trying to banish the inner voice, saying “This time 24 years ago, I was getting dressed”, “this time 24 years ago, I was fed an illegal drug”, “this time 24 years ago, unspeakable things were happening to me.”

This time, in 2008, I am whole. I am happy. I survive. I am.

For you, Linds.

Update on Nujood, my hero, the “child bride”.

You can read about brave attorney, Yemeni Shada Nasser. I am so proud of everyone involved in freeing these children from such sick bondage!

Bravo. Click here to read the full story!

Mary Winkler regains custody of her children.

I’m basically opening the floor to everyone on this one. I know that my Frank “TJ” Mackey contingent will be mad, but it is what it is. If one follows the verdict and the sentencing, Mary Winkler, who shot and killed her husband, pastor Matthew Winkler, is getting her kids back. Many were outraged at her short sentence and she is viewed as the standard for mens’ rights activists who say women get sentences that are way too short. I have to personally disagree – I think there are some men and woman whose sentences are not equitable given their crimes and has nothing to do with her being a woman. My rapist – 5 and 1/2 months served of a 10 year sentence imposed. Go figure. Aileen “Monster” Wuornos? Death penalty. You see where I’m headed.

Say what you will about the deceased (apparently, not a nice guy), she did kill him and admitted it. However, I think what the court determined is that she was not a danger to her children and that her children indeed wanted to be reunited with their mother. Um, and PS – awkward alert – they’ve been living with the dead man’s parents, who, by the way, tried to block supervised visits with the girls. This can’t be good news for them. That must have been quite the handover. Gulp.

Seriously, Frank “TJ” Mackey was the only great character Tom Cruise ever played.

Remembering John F. Kennedy, Jr.

This week, it will be nine years since the terrible plane crash that took the lives of JFK, Jr., his wife, Carolyn Bessette and her sister, Lauren Bessette. While the nation mourned the only son of a legendary President and First Lady, so many wondered why yet another tragedy hit the Kennedy family? It seemed to many that John Jr. would have eventually traipsed into political life, bearing all of the charisma and power of his father (and other forbears) with none of the controversy.

I was reading a book by Kennedy’s George magazine editor, Richard Blow, this week and was surprised to learn that JFK, Jr., for all of his public life and private passions, was puzzling to know. He wasn’t the dim bulb he was thought of and yet, he dared tread in some dangerous areas. He would have been a shoo-in for President one day, or would he have? A man of grace, humor, astounding good looks, he wore his celebrity easily, even if it was a burden.

In the interest of full disclosure, my feelings about his death were quite strong in the days that followed because a) Lauren Bessette worked with my husband and b) I knew one of his flight instructors; the one who could not accompany him that trip as his girlfriend at the time was my cousin and a good friend to Carolyn. Carolyn was from Greenwich as well. I had never met any of the three who died.

That said, Richard Blow’s book, for which he caught much heat, examines only the years of George, the brilliant and sometime overlooked magazine founded by the young Kennedy in the late 1990s. What struck me most about Blow’s book was his assertion that JFK, Jr. was, in every sense, a misogynist filled with the very same hubris that killed many in his family, i.e., “The Kennedy Curse.” For example:

1) he blamed Sheila Rauch for wanting an annulment on his cousin Joe’s failed bid for reelection. Why not blame the husband? I myself have gotten an annulment and it’s no easy feat and it’s not for the faint of heart. You must really want the annulment and be able to prove to the Tribunal that the marriage is not viable.

2) he blames the victim for testifying in the trial against his cousin William Kennedy Smith, who was tried and aquitted of rape in Palm Beach. JFK Jr. is physically present (by choice?) in the courtroom during trial. Does that sway the jury? What many folks don’t realize is that Kennedy Smith was accused again of rape in 1999. Also, Kennedy Smith had help in the person of his uncle Ted Kennedy that night and everyone knew it. Who could possibly charge these people with a crime and win?

3) he practically blames the teenaged babysitter for “seducing” Michael Kennedy, whose marriage is ruined and then goes on to die in a skiing accident while playing football on skis. What about the daredevil problem in the family which would apply to both the (statutory rape)”affair” and the skiing backwards? Why not blame the late Michael Kennedy or karma?

For all we know, he blames Marilyn Monroe, Mary Jo Kopechne and Martha Moxley for various “infractions” against his family as blood is way thicker than water. What I’m trying to say is not that he was a terrible person, but like many whose star shone with amazing brightness, he had lost perspective and in his grief, reached out for the easy targets to blame rather than look at his flawed family with fresh eyes. From what we know, his mother was extraordinarily adept at raising children in the most abnormal of circumstances and, upon her death, he seemed like a rudderless ship, removed from the calm anti-celebrity of his older sister Caroline.

That said, his death was untimely and tragic and who knows where his career and public life would have taken him? I like to think of him as a “good Kennedy”. As we approach the anniversary of his death this week, I wanted to take some time to see what you all thought of this family and whether or not they bring tragedy upon themselves or if they are simply unlucky? They are, quite simply, like no other dynasty here in America and have done our country proud via public service. What of their private lives? Or is it simply not any of our business?

NB: JFK, Jr. was a Phi Kappa Psi. Hmmmmm…

So much to say on this that I’ve avoided it. Let’s hope the DNA database works.

RIP, JonBenet and Patsy. Peace may be coming to you both.

Interestingly enough, one of the witnesses (one of the few really good guys in the investigation who was willing to get on a plane and testify)in my case is very good friends with the new Boulder D.A.

What are your thoughts on the JonBenet mystery? Bungled? Still a shadow on the parents? The perfect crime? I’m exhausted just thinking of it as I have a little girl who looks rather like her and I cannot fathom this pain and lack of closure. There was a tale running around Atlanta that John Ramsey was molesting his daughter (and had his older daughter), that Patsy walked in on it and, in a jealous fit of rage, killed JonBenet. Can you imagine?

I’m just saying. In ATL, that was the predominant theory among Police. It in NO way reflects our opinion, but I thought it provocative enough to blog about as now, that is obviously not the case. Brother Burke also fell under a great deal of suspicion. Let’s see what the databank can get us. Hold on for a bumpy ride. This isn’t over.

Elizabeth Smart – I’m just saying.

I think what Elizabeth Smart went through is remarkable and that she is alive is a miracle. I wish her so much love, happiness and peace. While I have some choice words for those around her (Mrs. Smart invited her daughter’s kidnapper into their lives when she saw him, homeless, at a supermarket – nah, I shouldn’t judge. I’ll shut up.), I am impressed with the woman she has become and the advocate she surely is.

I happened to be getting my nails done and picked up the latest issue of “People” to read the cover story on Ms. Smart and her recovery in the last five years. I don’t have a copy and I don’t have the quotes, so you’re getting the paraphrased version of two very incendiary paragraphs.

Ed Smart, her father, says in the interview that Elizabeth has not had any formal therapy. It is well known that she was sexually, physically and mentally abused during her captivity by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. He goes on to say that when she talks about “it”, she confides in her “parents and grandparents”, but that he and her mother have each heard “different things” and that’s okay with them; that she’ll share what she wants to. Really? What about when the trial finally comes up and she has to testify? What will happen then? Do parents have the duty to see that their children heal in a more therapeutic framework?

I think she has handled this with tremendous grace and I agree with her that this should not define her. Bad shit happens to people all the time and one cannot dwell. However, by not seeking professional help, I feel that this young woman, (like many survivors of crime) will have it come back and haunt her one day. She was only 15 at the time of her abduction, after all. I pushed my brutal attack away after it i decided to “move on”…it got me nothing but PTSD and a life of less promise for not having dealt, saying “I am totally fine!”.

Sometimes, victims and survivors need to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their own healing. No one can hand it to us. What do you all think? Should she seek help just to sort it out? Will the inevitable prep for trial bring it all crashing down? In Eastern philosophy and medicine, we learn that things “get worse before we feel better”. Walking through the fire is sometimes necessary to build your house again.

Thoughts on Elizabeth Smart’s unorthodox recovery? I’d love to hear from a therapist/social worker/psychotherapist/etc. And all of you!

Retail Spotlight Friday – light up your world

So, back to the fluffy commentary for now. I’m a firm believer that lighting is so important in one’s home – it’s the (relatively) cheapest way to make a huge impact on a room. Remember, hang chandeliers low, like 30″ from a table. I found this gem while redoing our abode from West Elm – the wood and metal chandelier. You like? It’s going in the dining room, where finally, I’ll be able to entertain again after covering the chairs in a fantastic black and white peacock feather fabric.

Enjoy – very chic in person and minimal shipping!