Rolling Stone (fucking) Journalism

Limp Bizkit investigates statistical manipulation in FDA clinical drug trials

Bret Michaels on transnational petro smuggling inside the ISIS network

The Oak Ridge Boys analyze the Chinese expansion threat and cross strait relations

Heavy D’s last dispatch – – Bullfighting in Catalonia

Rico Suave on memoir, idenity and magic realism in Latin American Literature

 

East New York, Brooklyn; The, or very close to The worst all around quality of life 5.6 square miles of hood in NYC, likely in America, for close to a hundred years

ENYshirt(1)

 

Consider its NYC stats: most sex offenders, highest crime stats by far in every category every single year without pause for good period rehab or for some other hood to give it a break and take over the mayhem; most homeless, most HIV cases, most lead posionings, most child abuse cases and Childrens’ Services cases, highest # of deaths from alcoholism, highest # of gonorrhea cases, most police abuse complaints, police corruption (michael dowd ran with a crew of  75th Precinct NYPD cops turned all out hands on gangsters – ski mask armed robberies while on duty), most # of waste sites and waste carting,  most dangerous roads, asbestos, industrial toxins, highest # of industrial manufacturing and use of highly dangerous and destructive special license chemicals, highest # of children in foster care, most vacant lots, highest # of shelters, drug rehabs, mental health facilities, nursing homes, methadone clinics, food pantries, bus depots, a freight train line from a 100 years ago still there rotting seeping overgrown and derelict, a huge Con Ed plant exactly the same, junkyards, Super Fund sites, a huge sewage treatment plant under emergency federal care and sanction, mercury, fecal matter and arsenic polluting the creeks and the section of the Jamaica Bay it sits on, the largest residential facility for the developmentally disabled. in NY state is there (in process of shutting down because of repeated state sanctions for violations related to patient care). And there’s more and its just as bad and worse.

So you see East New York is not “my hood is so gangsta paradise bad, lets freestyle rap about it and represent cool and crime glam.” East New York is so close to the worst  place for 200,000 to have to make their homes but they try and they do and two little girls sold me lemonade out of their cute ass little kid lemonade stand while there mom good mom watched over them in East New York Brooklyn. true story I needlessly might add, where you get your wings clipped all the time.

The Sunday Body Count In East New York, Brooklyn

There are two avenues that run parallel  up and down the length of East New York, about a mile and a half – – and they run like yin and yang mirror counterparts of the  fugged up mean city street archetype.  And  I only realized it when they fugged me up and I  confused them  though I’ve been studying and looking at them so long and so explorer hard and been down down them so often on Hagstrom maps, satellite maps, and on foot that I should have an all but dissertation on Van Sinderen vs. Van Siclen Ave.

Van Sinderen runs nonstop looking like the worst possible road in America to walk down, looking like a fake caricature. here’s a part of that avenue down on the south end of East New York – – every time I walk down it – – with cars flying by at 60 mph with no sidewalk, no shoulder, all debris and you having to pin yourself against some graffiti on the wall so you’re not mowed down – – every time I think, actually I can feel it, this desolate street is really by definition where bad things must occur, I can feel it, I just shake my head that it’s allowed to exist and that it is so evidently haunted.

van sinderen real-page-0

*** May 7, 2015 6 a.m. –woman found stabbed and unconscious on Van Sinderen sidewalk; wounds on her head and bicep and trauma to her body, blood trail showed she was dragged about 150 feet. No suspect, no reason known.

*** May 11, 2015, 9 p.m. — an intersection of Van Sinderen, 14-year-old boy attacked by gang of five, punched in the face, mugged of his Android cellphone and wallet. No arrests.

And this is Van Siclen Avenue (below) where it lives as awfully as Van Sinderen looks

Andvan siclen real

*** On Sunday, October 18, 2015 (this week) at 10:15 am a gunman wearing a black hoodie approached and shot and killed 28- year old Troy Mitchell while he stood on Van Siclen.  Hooded killer fled, no motive known.

*** On Sunday July 27, 2014, 8:15 p.m. Shaun Green, 41, had a small dog on a leash outside a bodega  at Van Siclen Ave.  Footage from a security camera shows the suspect —  6-foot-3, about 230 pounds — calmly walking up to the Green, pulling a pistol out of his pocket and shooting him  point blank in the face. No motive. Still image below from surveillance video; below that is a link to the actual video.

The gunman shot the 41-year-old one time in the face before running away.
Surveillance video link

Then it gets sick because it’s East New York and that place is unlike other thug life hoods; crimes go down there that are in a separate category.

*** Sunday, June 1, 2014, 6 p.m. — Daniel St. Hubert, 27, (mentally ill, just weeks out of prison off a five-year sentence for choking his mother with an electrical cord) he’s wandering East New York with various knives like it’s a killing field.   He follows two children,  Prince Joshua Avitto, 6, and Mikayla Capers, 7, into an elevator in the Boulevard Houses (NYCHA Public Housing, projects), they just stepped out for ice cream and ices.  With a butcher knife Hubert attacks the kids,  hacking and stabbing them multiple times, killing the boy Prince, critically wounding the girl Mikayla — a grown man stabbed a 7-year-old girl  he just laid eyes on 16 times while he had her caged in an elevator — imagine the psychosis. Imagine that psychosis that must’ve been so evident when he was released from Clinton prison and put on East New York streets to wander on Van Siclen — what else could have happened.

Two days before this elevator rampage, at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, May 30, an  18-year-old girl, Tanaya Grant-Copeland was found unconscious on a sidewalk near a rail yard at Stanley Avenue and Linwood Street, minutes away from Van Siclen and  the Boulevard Houses.  She had multiple stab wounds and was taken to Brookdale Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Police said Hubert was in the area and was also the likely killer; they traced his EBT transactions to that same bodega on cold ass broken down bad to the bone should be ripped up Van Siclen Avenue. And this is what he looks like, but I imagine you probably have an idea, we all know what fucked up looks like; we just can’t seem to do anything about it but recognize it and wait for it to bump into one of us. That’s young Prince up in the left hand corner, Rest In Peace — he too looks like you’d expect a never hurt no one 6-year-old good kid at peace in the world to look like — so there’s hope.

Mom of boy slain in elevator by ‘Brooklyn Ripper’ sues city

And here’s Mikayla out of the hospital in August (and don’t hate because it’s Sharpton, just focus on what that kid went through with that madness going on in the elevator, imagine that and forget the politics for 7 minutes).

7-year-old survivor of ‘Brooklyn Ripper’ makes first appearance

And here’s what this princess said and what’s going on in her life as reported in the NY Post :

“I’m feeling good because you all supported me,” said the bubbly 7-year-old, in a pretty pink and purple dress and sandals, as she sat with relatives at Al Sharpton’s weekly National Action Network meeting in Harlem.

At one point she raised her hands over her head and cupped them together in the shape of a heart.

“It’s for P.J.,” she said, referring to her 6-year-old pal, P.J. Avitto, who was killed in the June 1 attack.

Her family, which has asked for help relocating, is hoping to get Mikayla settled into a new home by Sept. 1 so she can start the third grade in housing away from the Boulevard Houses project — the scene of the carnage.

“The most exciting thing about it is that I get to see the rest of my classmates again,” Mikayla said when asked about the new school year.

The child, with two visible scars on her chest, bounced to music, smiled and hugged great-grandmother Regenia Trevathan just a day after her alleged attacker was found mentally fit to stand trial.

Mikayla has been living with her great-grandmother in a different part of Brooklyn because she can no longer stand being at the apartment complex where the horror unfolded.

“She has not been back in that elevator . . . She cannot stay there 24/7. It’s a constant reminder,” Trevathan said. The family has struggled to help Mikayla, who is in psychotherapy, cope with the psychological impact of the attack.

“My electric bill was overwhelmingly high because every light had to remain on. They call it post-traumatic stress. We don’t know the long-term effects but we tried to keep her busy,” Trevathan said.

The girl has asked to go put flowers on P.J.’s grave, forcing Trevathan to explain some very grown-up things.

“One of the hardest things I had to explain to her that she doesn’t understand is cremation,” Trevathan said.

Her family, which has asked for help relocating, is hoping to get Mikayla settled into a new home by Sept. 1 so she can start the third grade in housing away from the Boulevard Houses project — the scene of the carnage.

“The most exciting thing about it is that I get to see the rest of my classmates again,” Mikayla said when asked about the new school year.

The child, with two visible scars on her chest, bounced to music, smiled and hugged great-grandmother Regenia Trevathan just a day after her alleged attacker was found mentally fit to stand trial.

Mikayla has been living with her great-grandmother in a different part of Brooklyn because she can no longer stand being at the apartment complex where the horror unfolded.

“She has not been back in that elevator . . . She cannot stay there 24/7. It’s a constant reminder,” Trevathan said. The family has struggled to help Mikayla, who is in psychotherapy, cope with the psychological impact of the attack.

“My electric bill was overwhelmingly high because every light had to remain on. They call it post-traumatic stress. We don’t know the long-term effects but we tried to keep her busy,” Trevathan said.

The girl has asked to go put flowers on P.J.’s grave, forcing Trevathan to explain some very grown-up things.

“One of the hardest things I had to explain to her that she doesn’t understand is cremation,” Trevathan said.

The Carter Family

Rosalyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter with me lurking in the background looking freaky. I won a Carter Center journalism fellow and they had us down to Atlanta.  I can not say enough about that women, she is wonderful and treated me with such respect, compassion and kindness.  She's a saint.

Rosalyn Carter and President Jimmy Carter with me lurking in the background looking freaky.
I won a Carter Center journalism fellowship and they had us down to Atlanta. I can not say enough about that woman, she is wonderful and treated me with such respect, compassion and kindness. She’s a saint.

On the Ground in Albania Chasing the Mob World

Amazing global investigation about Albanian mob by@kevinjayheldman #longreads http://bit.ly/ONyMGl

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The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for June 16, 2012

http://www.thedailybeast.com/…/the-week-s-best-longreads-the-dailybeast-…– longreads-sessions-120614-tease  Kevin Heldman, Capital New York An investigation into the heart of Albanian-American organized crime.

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Wow. Just finished piece on Albanian gangs in @capitalnewyork. Amazing. It’s GTA: Liberty City come alive. Read now: http://t.co/LbC3efeb
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     I feel, felt, a little like a low rent John McPhee on the cops and robbers beat — 50,000 words on how Albanians settle beefs and toss silencers —  but this is my final story in a long series on Albanian transnational crime in New York, in the US, and overseas.

This article, Part I, goes in very deep on a specific NY Albanian crew and takes you, took me, all over Albania reporting on this world.  I got as deep there as I could as a reporter — gave it my all — somebody in or of that crime world or some agent in IOC2, DEA, FBI or a lawyer, prosecutor out there who’s on these cases may know this world deeper, but I’m already punching way above the weight of a press pass, hey tell me your story, I don’t have a gun, money, subpoena power or a 5k letter to give you (that’s my shout out to all you  ridiculously hard working US prosecutors and defense attorneys on this and related cases — don’t know how you do it).

FBI NY Balkan Task Force: probably have a restraining order on me, this guy again, leave us alone already, be a normal reporter, go become a security guard or something if you want street action but you all would appreciate this account and especially Part II so if you see this check it out.

Part II, to be published pretty soon, will explain why all this matters, document the scope of this kind of crime — kind of say that this is not just arbitrary let’s write about Albanian crime because it’s novel — there is a shockingly established criminal subculture here that is very serious; I resisted believing it for the longest time because it seemed so unreal but it’s there, in mind numbing so many guns in mouths over and over again detail.

Here’e the link to the story on Capital New York.  I think it’s good, never sure on these things, you rewrite and reread and can’t read any more so much you lose perspective, but it is honest and I did work like mad on it.  If it’s not good I’m in trouble because I suck at life and I’m supposed to be good at this so… you know, there’s that. Ah, I always have to go too far.

On the Ground In Albania Chasing the Mob World

The journalist and the ghetto article

So being a journalist and having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me I was going to write a story about a really crime ridden, impoverished section of the city.  I spent so much time there, days, nights, in projects, in cheap hooker motels, on the streets, in clubs, stopped repeatedly by cops and went through what you wouldn’t believe, talking to the mother of a shot girl, gun shot victims, activist groups protesting violence, the fellas on the street on and on — but then I thought what the hell is the point.

Another story about gangs, and teen beefs and cops behaving badly and drugs — what do I have to add, to teach anybody, to contribute — I can notice, point out, write out a few details that are intriguing, introduce you all to new slang, try to break your heart, make you outraged, blow up stereotypes, show folks as real people, diverse and human as you and I — but why, I (and so many other journalists) wrote so many of those articles and what? I got awards, I got flack, some good things happened, conditions changed, I got superficial praise at gatherings — “Wow, you do really serious interesting stuff, bye I’m going back to the guy or girl who loves me, makes me laugh, provides for me and likes watching The Office with me when we get home from Trader Joes.”

But write the article if you don’t really really have something to say that needs to be said and hasn’t been said? Try to find a sexy original way in like a graduate school lit paper — “Herman Melville and The White Whale — A racial trope in the service of a cautionary narrative of mythic bestiality”

Write the article because it’s my job?, it’s work, just like the guy who shows up everyday at the factory and works the lathe or the pediatric nurse who goes in every day and treats patient after patient.

Since I’m still 16 years old in my mind I think of journalism as a calling and doing  a certain type of reporting seems just as useless and useful as waking up and getting out of bed each morning. So what, stay broke until I have something to say? Work blue collar jobs until I have an article I need to write? I did that for years but gettin old and my back can’t hang — can’t unload those UPS trucks anymore, can’t shovel that snow for the city, carry those boards of sheet rock up those stairs, can’t hang from the rafters with one hand wielding a nail gun with the other.

As for the existential whining — Johnny Cash’s lyric, “I shot a man in Reno  just to watch him die” was originally “I shot a city editor just because he said hey welcome to the real world and sent me to cover a city council meeting and told me to use a punchier lead on a story and said ‘And use some humor, you every read Joel Klein in the back of Time Magazine, use him as a model, write like him, funny but he actually makes good points about society and culture.”

What would you do? And BTW, what is the meaning of life and why is the sky blue?

I’m serious actually, too damn serious. Why doesn’t Wolf Blitzer have these problems. Goddamn, is this what blogs are for? – shut down the damn internet and just give us all diaries.

What it feels like to be heard and why journalism shouldn’t die

There is a man named Samuel Rubenfeld, he covers corruption for The Wall Street Journal.  This series I wrote on Albanian crime, I worked to the point of exhaustion on it, I probably embarrassed myself a number of times begging and haggling for information.  I thought it was important so I hawked it, hustled it, marketed it like a, like a bad merchant.  And this Samuel Rubenfeld, he took to Pro Publica’s new website and wrote this:
srubenfeld This series on the Albanian mob is truly one of the greatest things I’ve read all year http://bit.ly/p6mxbL via @capitalnewyork #muckreadsa day ago by Samuel Rubenfeld, Reporter, Corruption Currents, Wall Street Journal

That’s a damn nice thing of him to say. Not ego or publicity going on for me really, just that I got to do something good and that there are people out there, better people than me, who will read this, what I wrote and think that I did something worthwhile, correct, useful.  I can hold my head up for a little while, that means a lot. Because heads, they go down so quickly and easily when you’re a journalist (I remember when Pete Hamill was kissed by Abe Hirschfeld and Pete said so.  Does anyone else remember this, where my ### people at).
So thank you reporter Sam Rubenfeld,  good looking out, hopefully someday I can return the favor. May we both continue to have the opportunity to do good work.

Crime Journalism Housekeeping Notes and reporters and police bumping heads

1) On this Albanian Organized, kind of organized, ridiculously corporate like big narco types crime story, the last installment where I went to Albania, covered federal trials here in NY met with everybody and went everywhere I could, the one I cried about and the one that wrecked me a bit because how much can you write on a topic and how do you put a world of facts into order, maybe there is no order but when do you give it up — but  I did it, proud of the article, not the usual feeling of just grateful it didn’t go really bad and blow up — it’s good and everybody behind it feels it’s good and all you prosecutors, defense lawyers, agents, people who talked to me from in the life, who gave me info to help, who took me into places and opened up, the guys and women I can’t name who treated me decently, yeah it will be out, published soon, — I know, maybe the mob will disappear or something bigger will happen and you all moved on, I know, it’s just the nature of this game, uh this business, uh this hobby of mine sometimes — so soon and it’s all out and sincere so at least en shallah that will be good.

2) That last blog post on slang (commentary like I’m Carrie Bradshaw on the police beat) I’m banking on two guys laughing appreciatively on it — Steve Hughes in Brazil and the smart funny JC who kept everyone in check and made being an intimidator like having a cool ass uncle in your corner — P from last period in jumpsuit land, but I don’t even know how to get him to a blog).

3) I just have to say this cop reporter relations thing here — maybe 9 months ago I applied for this NYPD Press pass, it used to be useful but post 9/11 it’s pretty worthless really, what police lines are they really going to let you cross with the card and what special courtesies are they really going to roll out.  I sent this whole long application in, my bio, clips,  sayingI’m not a daily reporter looking to do spot news but I thought it would be useful, especially for ID if say  cops stop me for —  what are you doing in school street projects, why are you in this deli, to rob it?  we have a report of you with a gun in the subway we have to converge on you  — true true true and it always comes up if I’m a snitch, undercover, informant, cop, really a reporter when I’m interviewing so a card would maybe help a little.

This detective in the public information office almost takes my head off in an e-mail, no exceptions, we don’t care, you don’t meet the criteria, you fail, you’re not a crime reporter, we don’t cover rikers, go to hell, we hate you, (paraphrasing here).  What the hell — I write her back, look I’m not trying to get into a fight, I’m just wondering if there was any way blah blah respect respect. Basically go to hell response.  I say thanks for trying, whatever be nice, squash it.  No response.

What is this? That’s how little you value what a good journalist not trying to do gotchas and take cops down just to get a byline.  What is this courting of enemies, cultivating enemies. This is your job , on press outreach.  So we should disappear? Who is willing to come to the guy’s defense when you throw a cop in the psych ward for a week because he’s too out of line with commanders and getting to be a pain about quotas?  Who’s going to really try to show who you are when you jump in the river for a rescue, take bullets, get stabbed with a screwdriver in the head.  You have any idea how things went when an undercover cop tried to summons/arrest me for a turnstile jump, misunderstanding, on my way to court, he said remember this when you write all your ticket fixing attack articles, I said I don’t do that kind of thing, I’m not out for your blood (and I know a guy at the News who does those stories and he’s not out for blood either) and I went to his headquarters the next day to say thanks for helping me out, keeping it vague but saying he was decent and everybody was good.  You have any idea what happens when I see cops chasing a guy and I’m walking by what any of us would do in that situation.  Or hear them make a racist comment on a construction job and not go crazy and hate them all or how I would help  like hell when they’ve had to wrestle down an emotionally disturbed rodeo guy on an EMS call when I did that job. I’m not saying I’m Mcgruff or cop-like or that I could even stomach arresting a person or testifying against them or being a police officer, but come on I’ve been in the crime, cop, prison, courts, institutions, streets world since I was a teenager — you really want to treat somebody who actually knows your world, actually knows how you talk, feel, what you go through, know many sides and has put in the time, listens and wants to convey that for real to the public — you want to treat that person like, what, nothing, and just give credentials to guys who need to get two quotes on an accident?  Where’s the intelligence, the flexibility, the creativity, the reason, the willingness to cooperate to make things work.  You really want to live in fantasy land bad cop show where the reporters are all sick evil jackals trying to hunt you down for gain and all the cops are swaggering guys with community college degrees who are crude and boorish.  I talked to your guy last night at 3 am, two out of their mind British tourists drunk, sick, miniskirted laying on the curb, hey, sorry officer, I know this is run of the mill sat nite and you’re not a taxi service but there’s these girls.  He’s normal, thoughtful, okay, where are they, yeah I’ll call a car and go there — cool, a man, another man, work together, no stereotypes.  Same in Mott Haven on the street asking about crime at night on this chinese take out story and when I called the community relations cop, the desk — hey just a heads up, I wrote this article, just wanted to put it on your radar– thanks, of course, we’ll take a look, thank you I appreciate it and they are, not sure why, but they’re out there now in force in Mott Haven and the streets are safer and that restaurant is safe.

I’m not going to be a jerk, a p**ck really, and call out a name on this but come on, isn’t there enough crap and chaos and tension and politics in this city, can’t you give a little respect when you’re given respect.  You’re the rep for them, all those men and women — we’re not all scum, looking to go against you.  Give some of it a chance and we can be on the same side, both do good in our worlds for each other.  I called DCPI maybe 900 times in my life and I was born and raised here and I’ve played deck hockey with probably half of you all on the force when we were 15 so come on, see who we are sometimes and we can do the same — alright, I appreciate you listening, be careful in those cars at high speed flying through intersections and in those dark rooms and on those shitty streets in the winter when guys flip out on you and decide let’s end it and you’re the way to do it and your backs and feet are probably sore as hell when it’s not calamity. peace.

When an online entity calls you Stephen Glass and anti-American and “just another left wing dirt bag spewing liberal vomit out of his warped commie brain”; you respond, defend your work with all you’ve got and still get called “a piece of chit.” Then you go back and defend yourself some more because a journalist only has his credibility and I value mine, often it’s all I had. And finally after about two years, like Diogenes, I come across an utterly decent and honest man

THIS IS FOR ANYONE WHO IS A REPORTER,  IS FRIENDS WITH A REPORTER, OR WHO READS REPORTERS 
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